JAIPUR: The contest for the Bikaner Lok Sabha seat is a fight within the family as BJP candidate and Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal and Congress' Madan Gopal Meghwal are cousins.
While Congress candidate is in the fray for the first time, the BJP candidate Arjun Ram Meghwal will be contesting to retain the seat, which has been the saffron party's stronghold from the last 15 years.
Actor Dharmendra had represented the seat in 2004.
Both the candidate have served the government through administrative services.
Arjun Ram entered politics in 2009 after resigning from the IAS whereas Madan Gopal took VRS from IPS before the assembly election in 2018.
Arjun Ram is two consecutive times BJP MP from Bikaner seat.
He had defeated Congress's Shankar Pannu with over 3 lakh votes in 2014 Lok Sabha election and considered a heavyweight in the BJP.
"He is elder son of my aunt (Mausi) and is also elder to me. We believe in different ideologies. I am a strong Congress worker whereas he is a staunch BJP man. I may be the first timer but I am accepting the challenge," Madan Gopal said.
The BJP leader is presently facing infighting within the party as the former minister and BJP veteran Devi Singh Bhati has been opposing his candidature from the seat accusing him of working as an agent of the Congress.
The battle on the seat also gets tougher this time as CPIM has given a ticket to a strong candidate Sheopat Ram who fought the election unsuccessfully from Raisingnagar seat.
Caste equation between upper castes which are in sizeable number and reserved castes too will play a major role on the Lok Sabha seat comprising eight assembly seats of which seven are in Bikaner district and one seat Anupgarh falls in Sriganganagar district.
Presently, BJP hold four Anupgarh, Nokha, Lunkarnsar, and Bikaner east whereas Bikaner west, Kolayat and Khajuwala seats are with Congress while Dungargarh seat was grabbed by CPIM in the recent assembly election.