LS polls: Congress ticket eludes Brahmin leaders in Rajasthan

Congress leader and key Rahul Gandhi aide, Randeep Singh Surjewala, also said that the "Congress has Brahmin DNA in its blood".

Jaipur: Contradicting its ‘Brahmin DNA’ stand, the Congress in Rajasthan has not failed a single Brahmin candidate for any of the 25 parliamentary constituencies in the desert state.

However, the party leaders insisted that the tickets have been given based on surveys, and not on the basis of caste or creed.

The party had played the Brahmin card many times in the past, claiming that the party has ‘Brahmin DNA’.

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Congress leader and key Rahul Gandhi aide, Randeep Singh Surjewala, also said that the “Congress has Brahmin DNA in its blood”.

Echoing the party’s claim, Rahul Gandhi has also been seen wearing a ‘Janeu’ (sacred thread) and claiming that he is a Kashmiri Brahmin.

However, contradicting this ‘Brahmin DNA’ claim, the Congress has not fielded even a single Brahmin candidate from Rajasthan, which has irked many community leaders.

Similarly, the grand old party has also not fielded any Muslim candidate for the Lok Sabha polls in Rajasthan to be held in the first two phases on April 19 and April 26.

In fact, this is the first time in the history of Rajasthan that not even a single Muslim or Brahmin candidate has got a Congress ticket.

The President of the Sarva Brahmin Mahasabha, Suresh Mishra, said, “It seems the Congress doesn’t want votes from the Brahmin community. It gave a single ticket to a Brahmin leader from Jaipur only to cancel it later. Ever since Independence, the party has been giving two to three tickets to Brahmin candidates in Rajasthan. Around one crore people are from the Brahmin community in the state. This is a disrespect to the community.”

Senior Congress leader Varun Purohit said, “Rajasthan has produced some stalwart Brahmin leaders. The Congress seldom tasted defeat when it gave respect to the Brahmin community. However, neglecting Brahmins and promoting other castes led to Congress’ debacle. Examples of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar can be taken in this context where the Congress failed to revive after wiping out the Brahmin leadership. Now the same story is being repeated in Rajasthan.”

The Congress had offered a ticket to Brahmin candidate Sunil Sharma from the Jaipur Lok Sabha seat. However, he withdrew his candidature following a controversy over his links with the pro-RSS organisation, Jaipur Dialogues.

Many Congress leaders, including Shashi Tharoor, had questioned Sunil Sharma over his loyalty to the party. Thereafter, the party fielded former state minister Pratap Singh Khachariya from Jaipur.

Besides Brahmin leaders, the party has also denied Muslim leaders from contesting the polls as it has failed to field any candidate from the community.

Jaswant Singh Gurjar, the Chairman of the party’s election war room in Rajasthan, said: “The tickets have been given by the party as per the survey, feedback, and demands of the party workers of the concerned seats. Muslims and Brahmins have traditionally voted for the Congress and will keep doing so in the future as well. There are many grounds for candidate selection. Tickets cannot be given only on the basis of caste, community or class.”

He also said that Brahmins and Muslims have been given tickets in other states, so there won’t be much impact politically in Rajasthan.

“The Congress gave tickets to the leaders of both these communities many times in the past. Even in this Lok Sabha elections, the party has given tickets to many Muslim and Brahmin leaders in other states,” Gurjar added.

To recall, Rajasthan has produced Muslim leaders like Barkatullah Khan who held the post of Chief Minister in 1971. In the Lok Sabha polls in 2009, 2014 and 2019, the Congress fielded Maqbool Mandelia from Churu, cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur, and Rafiq Mandelia from Churu, respectively. However, all three leaders lost the elections.

The Congress has also given significant importance to Brahmin leaders.

In 2009, three Brahmin leaders — Girija Vyas, C.P. Joshi and Mahesh Joshi — were given tickets and the Congress won all three seats. Vyas and Joshi even became Union ministers in the UPA government. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, these three leaders were renominated, but they lost.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress gave a ticket to Rampal Sharma from Bhilwara, but he lost. In fact, the party lost all the 25 Lok Sabha seats both in 2014 and 2019.

Former Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, right from Hiralal Shastri to Jayanarayan Vyas, Tikaram Paliwal and Haridev Joshi, were all Brahmins.

Senior journalist Narayan Bareth said: “Participation of all sections of the society is the basic and most important thing in a democracy. The current political situation across the country has become such that political parties have started marginalising the Muslim community.”

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