BJP’s ‘400 paar’ scares people who feel these polls may be last — Congress’s Churu pick Rahul Kaswan

BJP’s ‘400 paar’ scares people who feel these polls may be last — Congress’s Churu pick Rahul Kaswan

Churu: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s slogan for this general election — “Ab ki baar, 400 paar” (this time, will cross the 400-mark) — has scared the people who believe such a brutal majority will eliminate the need to hold elections in the country in the future, Congress’s candidate from Churu in Rajasthan Rahul Kaswan told ThePrint. 

 Kaswan, who switched to the Congress ahead of the polls after being denied a ticket by the BJP, said that the people’s ‘fear’ has been exacerbated by the diction of at least two BJP MPs who have talked about changing the Constitution if the party were to get an overwhelming mandate. 

 “If this is true, the BJP should have detailed the changes in its manifesto,” added Kaswan, who is up against BJP’s para-Olympian nominee Devendra Jhajharia. Kaswan won the constituency for BJP in 2014 and 2019. Before this, the seat was held by his father Ram Singh Kaswan, also for the BJP, from 1999 to 2009.

Told about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks at a public meeting in Bihar’s Gaya on 16 April where he said that neither Modi nor Dr Ambedkar can “change the Constitution”, Kaswan’s cryptic reply was: “Well, then that message has not effectively penetrated down to the masses.”

 Kaswan pegs his party’s chance fairly high, predicting the Congress will secure 15 of Rajasthan’s 25 Lok Sabha seats. 

 Denied ticket by BJP

 When denied a ticket for the third time, Rahul Kaswan had taken to microblogging site X (formerly Twitter) last month with much angst. “What was my fault? Was I not honest? Was I not hardworking? Was I not a man of integrity? Was I a tainted leader? Did I leave any stone unturned to ensure the development of my constituency?” he wrote. 

 On the campaign trail with ThePrint Tuesday, Kaswan said he did not get any answers even though he called the BJP’s state leadership daily. “I was told some days later that the party would accord me the respect I deserved. But then state leaders abused my parents and the central bosses gave them party posts,” he said grudgingly. He pointed the finger stoically at former Leader of the Opposition Rajendra Rathore, whom he addresses as ‘Kaka’ ji, as Rathore has been with the BJP since the time Kaswan’s father was a Member of Parliament.

 “It is not just this election. Kaka ji has been after my father for the last 15 years. He succeeded in 2014, and my father was denied a ticket. The party appointed a prabhari (in charge) to assess the situation, and somehow I was chosen to contest,” Kaswan said. 

 After being denied the chance this time, Kaswan says his loyalists urged him to join the Congress because of his “brilliant record” in the constituency. Incidentally, the Congress lost the state to the BJP in the assembly elections held last November.

(Edited by Tikli Basu)

Also read: No questions or debate, only suggestions & praise — how ‘Opposition-less’ Nagaland functions


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