For an outsider, Nagaur Parliamentary Constituency will be seen as a ‘Jagir of Jats’ that has been represented over several decades by Nathuram Mirdha. Nathuram is one of the legendry Jat leaders, who stood on the same pedestal of community top brass as former Union Home minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.
He was a Congressman but in 1975 he revolted against former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s decision to impose emergency and joined Charan Singh’s Lok Dal. He, however, returned to the Congress and remained loyal till his death in 1996.
Nathuram had won the seat for a record six times. The Lok Sabha battle was fought on crude caste calculations rather than real issues like drinking water and lack of job opportunities in the parched region.
Given the Mirdha family’s clout, this constituency is known for its export of famous Makrana marble and is surrounded by tourist destinations of Jodhpur and Ajmer, where the Sufi shrine is located. The constituency has been represented in Parliament by Congress leaders for 11 terms, beginning from the first Lok Sabha poll in 1952.
But, BJP is attempting to invade the Mirdha bastion, riding on the Modi wave and anti-Congress sentiment, reflected in the sweeping mandate Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje got in the December Assembly polls, when she won 163 of the 200 seats.
Nathuram’s granddaughter and sitting Congress MP Jyoti Mirdha, who also happens to be the richest woman candidate contesting in the first phase of the State, is pitted against Jat leaders fielded by the BJP, first timer CR Chaudhary, and another MLA Hanuman Beniwal fighting as an Independent after rebelling and leaving the saffron party.
The elections in this part of the State is devoid of the communal versus secular debate and is being contested on local problems that range from inadequate water supply to lack of development in the deprived industrial town.
Congress’s Jyoti Mirdha, in her speeches at Makrana, Kuchaman and Parvatsar reminded people of her efforts to implement the water canal project in Jayal, extend the Makrana-Parbatsar rail line, and bring down insurance premium on tractor trolleys.
BJP’s bureaucrat turned politician CR Chaudhary countered her claims, arguing that Congress failed to live up to the expectations of people.
The Rajasthan chief minister’s close confidante said the BJP had dominated eight segments in the December 2013 assembly election and the party would gain by PM candidate Narendra Modi’s popularity.
“There is no pressure on BJP. We are confident of victory because of anti-incumbency and zero development by Congress in the region,” Chaudhary said.