Congress Pins Hopes on Rahul Kaswan: Can His Entry Offset the Impact of the Mass Exodus in Rajasthan?

The Kaswan family's political legacy extends across generations, with Rahul's father, Ramsingh Kaswan, boasting a commendable track record as a four-time MLA and one-time MP. Adding to this lineage of political prominence, Rahul's grandfather, Deepchand Kaswan, has also left an indelible mark as a Lok Sabha MP. Additionally, Rahul Kaswan's mother, Kamala Kaswan, has made significant contributions to the political landscape, having served as an MLA from the Sadulpur constituency.
Rahul Kaswan officially joined the Congress in the presence of party president Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi.
Rahul Kaswan officially joined the Congress in the presence of party president Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi.Pic- Rahul Kaswan x handle

Jaipur- In a significant political development, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Rahul Kaswan from Churu constituency in Rajasthan announced his departure from the party and joined the Congress on Monday. This move comes after Kaswan was denied the ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2024 by the BJP, prompting him to express his discontent on social media and explore other political options.

Meanwhile, the Congress party, reeling from the aftermath of Sunday's mass exodus, finds solace in Kaswan's decision to join its ranks. The departure of 1,370 leaders, including former ministers, sarpanches, pradhans, and ex-MLAs, to the BJP had sent shockwaves through the Congress establishment.

The sudden influx of leaders into the BJP fold, reminiscent of January's events in Gujarat where over 2,000 Congress and AAP members joined the ruling party, highlights the dynamic nature of political alliances and the evolving strategies pursued by parties ahead of the forthcoming elections.

As Rajasthan braces for a fiercely contested electoral battle, characterized by shifting loyalties and strategic recalibrations, the stage is set for a politically charged showdown that could redefine the state's political trajectory.

With Kaswan's entry into the fold, the Congress gains a notable political asset, potentially mitigating the impact of recent defection by an influential tribal leader and sitting MLA Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya from Banswara and reinvigorating its electoral prospects in Rajasthan.

Rahul Kaswan officially joined the Congress in the presence of party president Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi. Expressing his happiness on joining the grand old party, Kaswan indicated that he is likely to be fielded as the Congress candidate from Churu, a constituency he has previously won in both 2014 and 2019.

Kharge welcomed Kaswan into the Congress fold, emphasizing that the decision was made after consultations with leaders of the Rajasthan unit of the party. He highlighted the alleged internal rifts within the BJP, suggesting that party leaders were feeling threatened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Kaswan echoed these sentiments, stating that he felt his voice was not being heard in the BJP and expressing concerns about his ability to advocate for the issues affecting farmers.

Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Govind Singh Dotasra also extended a warm welcome to Kaswan, noting his dedication to farmer welfare and public service. Dotasra expressed confidence that Kaswan's involvement would strengthen the party's organizational structure and amplify public issues.

In his resignation announcement from the BJP and his parliamentary seat, Kaswan expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president J P Nadda, and Home Minister Amit Shah for the opportunity to serve as the MP for Churu for two consecutive terms.

The BJP's decision to field paralympic gold medalist Devendra Jhajharia instead of Kaswan from the Churu Lok Sabha seat marked a turning point in Kaswan's political career, leading to his departure from the party.

The denial of BJP MP Kaswan's ticket for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Churu constituency has sparked speculation and internal debate within the party.

According to sources within the BJP, Kaswan's exclusion from the ticket allocation was not a consequence of his performance or anti-incumbency but rather stemmed from his alleged involvement in thwarting the electoral prospects of former leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore in Churu.

The Kaswan Dynasty: A Political Powerhouse in Churu District

The Kaswan family stands as a formidable entity in the political landscape of Churu district, akin to other influential political lineages such as the Ola family in Jhunjhunu, Mirdha in Nagaur, and Maderna family in Jodhpur. At the forefront of this dynasty is Rahul Kaswan, the incumbent Member of Parliament from the Churu Lok Sabha constituency. Kaswan's electoral prowess has been evident with consecutive victories in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 and 2019, securing the seat on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket. Notably, in 2014, he became the youngest MP, further solidifying his stature within the political arena.

The Kaswan family's political legacy extends across generations, with Rahul Kaswan's father, Ramsingh Kaswan, boasting a commendable track record as a four-time MLA and one-time MP. Adding to this lineage of political prominence, Rahul's grandfather, Deepchand Kaswan, has also left an indelible mark as a Lok Sabha MP. Additionally, Rahul Kaswan's mother, Kamala Kaswan, has made significant contributions to the political landscape, having served as an MLA from the Sadulpur constituency.

However, despite their entrenched position in Churu's political sphere and Rahul Kaswan's familial ties to influential figures such as Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, the recent cancellation of his ticket has sent shockwaves through the political corridors. Rahul Kaswan's marriage to the daughter of Kuldeep Dhankhar, brother of Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, adds another layer of complexity to the unfolding political drama.

Speculations abound regarding the reasons behind this unexpected development, with many attributing it to internal power struggles within the BJP. Of particular note is the alleged involvement of senior BJP leader Rajendra Rathore, who reportedly lost the assembly elections from the Taranagar seat in Churu.

It is rumored that Rathore holds Rahul Kaswan responsible for his defeat, fueling discussions on social media about the possible interference of Rathore in the cancellation of Kaswan's ticket.

Congress Exodus

The Congress party finds itself in turmoil as a staggering 1,370 leaders, including several prominent figures, like former ministers Lalchand Kataria, Khiladilal bairwa, Rajendra Yadav defected to the BJP on March 10, signaling a significant setback for the grand old party ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Among these leaders, 30 are anticipated to bolster the BJP's prospects in nine Lok Sabha constituencies, potentially impacting the party's vote share.

The mass exodus from Congress has intensified concerns within the party's leadership, prompting the high command to demand a comprehensive report on the matter from state in-charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and state Congress President Govind Singh Dotasara. Additionally, former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was scheduled to travel to Delhi on Monday, for a high-level discussion on the unfolding crisis.

Many of the departed leaders were considered close allies of Gehlot, further complicating the situation for the Congress leadership. It is anticipated that discussions will ensue between the high command and Gehlot to address the growing dissent within the party ranks.

Ashok Gehlot took to social media to address the recent exodus of leaders from the Congress party. In a statement, Gehlot expressed his disappointment at the departure of prominent leaders who had been nurtured and recognized by the Congress over the years. He highlighted their previous roles as Union Ministers, State Ministers, and holders of significant positions within the party, lamenting their decision to leave during challenging times for the Congress.

Gehlot also alluded to speculation surrounding the motivations behind these defections, suggesting that some leaders may be under pressure from central agencies, leading them to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He emphasized the importance of not succumbing to such pressures and urged leaders to prioritize the preservation of democracy and the future of the country.

This recent wave of defections comes on the heels of a similar trend observed during the assembly elections, where over 10 leaders abandoned Congress to join BJP. Notable among them were former MP Jyoti Mirdha, former MLA Giriraj Singh Malinga, Nandlal Poonia, Chandra Shekhar Baid, former Mayor Jyoti Khandelwal, Suresh Mishra, and Pankaj Mehta. Additionally, former minister Rajendra Gudha parted ways with Congress to join Shiv Sena.

With the BJP capitalizing on the defections to bolster its electoral prospects, Congress faces an uphill battle in regaining lost ground and preserving its political relevance in the upcoming polls.

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