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In battle of prestige, Vaibhav Gehlot up against Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

A loss for his son in his home turf, which Gehlot has nurtured for decades, would take the sheen off Congress’ victory in the recently assembly elections.

, ET Bureau|
Apr 19, 2019, 07.17 AM IST
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ET Bureau
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Shekhawat’s meticulous and highpitched campaign stands in stark contrast with Gehlot’s. The latter seems to be largely banking on his father’s goodwill.
It is a battle of prestige and high stakes in Jodhpur where Vaibhav Gehlot, son of Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, is pitted against Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

It is young Gehlot’s political debut, but his father has a lot at stake. A loss for his son in his home turf, which Gehlot has nurtured for decades, would take the sheen off Congress’ victory in the recently assembly elections.

For Shekhawat, who had fought and won his first election in 2014, another victory would enhance his stature within BJP and make him a direct challenger of his vocal critic, former chief minister Vasundhara Raje.

Shekhawat is campaigning across the length of the constituency, addressing every segment of the constituency. Largely he is sticking to the nationalism and rashtravaad rhetoric.

“I want you to remember the sacrifice of our jawans,” he tells a crowd chanting “Modi Modi” at Nagauri Gate circle around 8.30 pm. After the public meeting he gets off the stage and reaches out to first-time voters. He is introduced to each of them and he hugs them and reminds them to vote for “Modi ji”. Chants of “Ye desh nahin jhukne denge” ring through the crowd.

Shekhawat rushes to Sursagar, a locality nearby where a procession on Ram Navami was allegedly pelted with stones when it passed through a Muslim-dominated area. He spent the rest of the night outside the police station with his supporters demanding release of some Hindu youths picked up for questioning.

Shekhawat’s meticulous and highpitched campaign stands in stark contrast with Gehlot’s. The latter seems to be largely banking on his father’s goodwill. At Chamunda Devi temple in Sardarpura, the chief minister’s assembly constituency, Vaibhav spent some time with his daughter offering pooja, and rushed through the rest of his engagements, stopping only to pose for photographers at a blood donation camp.

Ashok Kumar, an ice-cream seller outside the temple, says, “Ashok (Gehlot) ji aur unke bete aaye thhe.” Ask him who would he vote for? “Gehlot ji, who else?... I am from his community – maali.”

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