- Congress has 99 seats in Rajasthan assembly, one short of simple majority
- BSP has decided to field son of ex-union minister Natwar Singh in Ramgarh
- Ramgarh will go to polls on January 28 and results announced 2 days later
The Congress won the battle for supremacy in Rajasthan last month, but the war is far from over. It managed to breach the majority mark of 100 seats to form the state government with the support of Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal, with which it was in a pre-poll alliance, but the support of Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and independents remains crucial for the Ashok Gehlot government.
The Congress government, which has just 99 legislators of its own, does not want to be at the beck and call of allies.
A win in Ramgarh - polls to which will be held later this month - can resolve that. The Congress will achieve a simple majority on its own in the 200-member state assembly, reducing its dependence on outside support to keep the government standing.
However, the BSP - which has six legislators in the state assembly - doesn't exactly want it to be a cakewalk for the Congress. It has decided to field Jagat Singh, the son of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh, against the Congress in Ramgarh.
Jagat Singh was with the BJP before he jumped onto Mayawati's boat. He took the decision after he was denied a ticket despite winning Kaman in Bharatpur for the party in the previous election.
"I will tell the people to vote for my son because I am 90 years old," Natwar Singh told NDTV. "I will tell them to vote for my son and send him to the Vidhan Sabha."
However, Congress candidate Safia Khan did not seem anxious. "Yes, there is the magic figure of 100. The work we have done since the time we came to power at the state level is sure to impact this election too," she said.
Ramgarh will go to the polls on January 28, and the results announced two days later. It could not be held along with the other 199 constituencies in the state last year due to a fatal heart attack suffered by BSP candidate Laxman Singh.
The BJP is fielding local politician Sukhwant Singh from the constituency.