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The poll is crucial for Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot who, despite enjoying over two thirds majority in the assembly and having launched a mega public relations campaign, has not succeeded in rallying the masses behind the party.
The contest is a straight one between Nanak Ram Jagatrai (Congress) and Lachman Das Tilwani (BJP).
Jagatrai is a sitting municipal councillor. Though an ordinary trader, he is held in high esteem in this area. He won the last municipal election as an independent candidate defeating a Congress nominee.
Several local Congress leaders are unhappy with him as he got the Congress ticket without much canvassing and, in fact, filled up the membership form only the day before he filed his nomination papers.
The campaign has also been hampered by the fact that state minister B D Kalla took over the poll campaign midway replacing his colleague Khet Singh Rathore.
On the other hand, BJP candidate Lachman Das Tilwani, a wealthy businessman and a senior party worker, enjoys the confidence of the RSS, whose members are wholeheartedly campaigning for him along with BJP workers.
The BJP is taking full advantage of the discomfort within the Congress and the public sentiment against the government, particularly the resentment against the power tariff hike. It is leaving no stone unturned to upset the ruling party.
State BJP chief Bhanwari Lal Sharma is personally supervising the party's campaign and had got Civil Aviation Minister Shahnawaz Hussain and Union Small Scale Industry Minister Vasundhara Raje to address a few meetings.
Polling will be held on February 21.
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