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Rajasthan assembly polls 2018: RSS stronghold, Anta, has been electing influential leaders

Anta, known to be dominated by Other Backward Classes (OBCs), houses a sizeable population of Mali and Dhakar communities. The region is considered to be a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) stronghold.

Updated: Sep 11, 2018 13:46:17

By Aabshar H Quazi

Prabhu Lal Saini is the Rajasthan agriculture minister and BJP legislator from Anta assembly constituency. (HT Photo )

Anta, an assembly constituency in Rajasthan formed a decade ago during delimitation, has seen a hard-fought battle every assembly poll.

Apart from Jhalarapatan in Jhalawar district, the home constituency of chief minister Vasundhara Raje, Anta, in Baran district, is another constituency which has been electing influential leaders. While Anta elected Congress leader Pramod Jain ‘Bhaya’ in the first assembly poll after coming into existence in 2008, Bhaya lost to BJP’s Prabhulal Saini in 2013 by a narrow margin of 3,399 votes.

In 2008, Bhaya defeated former BJP stalwart Raghuveer Singh Kaushal and went on to become the public works department minister in the Congress government. Similarly, Prabhulal Saini became the agriculture minister in the Vasundhara Raje government after defeating Bhaya in 2013.

While Saini is considered to an influential minister in the Raje cabinet at present, Bhaya is the biggest Congress leader in Baran, who also wields influence in Anta and the remaining three assembly constituencies in Baran.



Before delimitation till 2003, Anta was part of the Baran constituency, when Bhaya, as an independent, registered his first victory after being denied a Congress ticket in the assembly polls.

Till 2003, Baran was an unreserved constituency. After delimitation, Baran was reserved for Scheduled Castes while Anta was made a constituency for the general category.

Anta, known to be dominated by Other Backward Classes (OBCs), houses a sizeable population of Mali and Dhakar communities. The region is considered to be a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) stronghold. However, since only two assembly polls (one each won by the Congress and BJP) have taken place after delimitation, its political alignment is still hazy.

 

Before delimitation, when Anta was part of Baran constituency, it has witnessed 12 assembly polls and the Congress and BJP (earlier Janasangh) have six times each.

Political analyst Lalit Mohan Khandelwal said that there are around 25,000 Mali and 18,000 Dhakar voters and a major chunk of them are believed to have voted for Prabhulal Saini in 2013. Anta also has around 25,000 Meena voters, along with around 30,000 Dalit, 18,000 Brahmin and 13,000 Muslim voters.

Although BJP and Congress have not announced their candidates for Anta, it is believed that Bhaya may contest again. Also, Saini may break his practice of changing assembly constituencies every assembly poll and contesting from Anta again. Saini, who has not lost a poll yet, was elected as an MLA from Hindoli in Bundi district in 2008 and later contested from Anta in 2013. The dominance of the Mali community in Anta may prompt Saini to contest again as he hails from the community.

Bhaiya belongs to the Vaishya community, which in itself is not a dominating force, but when combined with Muslims, Dhakars, Dalits and ST voters, can tilt the scale in favour of Bhaya again.

Meanwhile, newbie Aam Aadmi Party has announced former state convener of AAP and former chairman of Mangrol municipality, Ashok Jain as its candidate.

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 13:45:28

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