In the land of the royals, two Olympic stars fight for votes – but it may boil down to caste

Union Minister and BJP leader Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore during election campaign in Jaipur on April 6, 2019IANS
  • Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from BJP and Krishna Poonia from INC are contesting for the Lok Sabha seat.
  • Rathore is a silver medal winner from the Olympics while Poonia is three-time Olympics participant and gold medallist in the Commonwealth Games.
  • While Rathore is the incumbent MP, the crowds seem to swinging in the favour of Poonia because of her caste.
As India enters phase five of the general elections, there’s an interesting fight brewing in the land of the Maharajas and Maharanis. In Jaipur rural, two Olympians – Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from the Bharatiya Janata Party and Krishna Poonia from the Indian National Congress – are contesting for the Lok Sabha seat.

Rathore an Olympian shooter is the incumbent MP from Jaipur rural and is up against the Commonwealth gold medallist and Olympics participant Poonia. The two sporting icons now have a shot to win the golden ticket to the Lok Sabha.

While they might have sports in common, their political affiliations and strides are completely opposite. Rathore, also a retired Colonel from the army, has gained much respect in his constituency for having paved the way for development and is a youth icon in the area.

Rathore also holds the position of Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting and Sports.

“Youths of this constituency are joining the Army. They were wasting their time. Before 2014, there was no recruitment in Army from Jaipur district for six years. I started recruitment camps, and the results are there. We also arrange pre-recruitment training for youths,” Economic Times quoted Rathore from his rallies.

Meanwhile, Poonia has gained popularity by being ‘one of the people’. Though Poonia hails from Haryana, her husband Virender Poonia is from the region, which brings her the favouritism. The Jats from the constituency have spoken to the media about their preference towards Poonia because of her caste.

But going beyond sports, from bus stops to drinking water facilities, there are a lot of issues that villagers want to be solved in the area. "We are faced with loads of challenges for our day-to-day survival in the village. In the morning, we need to fetch water for our daily needs. But as the groundwater has almost dried up here, we have one tap supplying water to 50 houses. Surprisingly, the water supply from this tap is limited to 60 minutes, which is insufficient to meet the needs of all the families," Bansilal Kumawat, a resident of the Sanodiya village in the constituency, told IANS.

It’s not just the elderly, even children from the constituency are standing up for their rights. In early May, children from the Garhi village of the constituency were seen campaigning and urging the elders to vote for the right candidate who would put a stop on child marriage and child labour in the area.

See Also:
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Polling in Phase 5 will see battle for 51 seats
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