JAIPUR: The 7th-century town of Chittorgarh, which was once the center of the Mewar kingdom, is wondering why its great heritage does not translate into development in tourism equivalent to Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaipur as assembly elections approach.
Residents of Chittorgarh claim that any growth the town has experienced thus far has been “accidental” rather than planned, and they refuse to give credit for it to the elected officials. Chittorgarh is the town that is home to the majestic Chittorgarh Fort, the largest fort in Asia. The subject of “sthaniyavad” (local resident/son of the soil) in candidate selection is gaining traction in each of the district’s five constituencies as the election on November 25 draws closer.
Nagendra Singh, a local poet and businessman, claimed that elected officials have failed to restore Chittorgarh’s lost glory. “We see in our town’s squares and other public sites banners and posters boasting of projects from other cities in the state such as the riverfront in Kota or the restoration of heritage structures in Jodhpur, and it hurts,” he said.
People in this area express their sense of injustice by asking why a town with perennial rivers like the Gambhiri and Berach does not have a waterfront project like Kota, Jaipur, and Ajmer in their public and social media discourses.
Residents of Chittorgarh are baffled as to why their town, which has a lengthy history, is not yet part of any tourism circuit or pilgrimage route. Additionally, they inquire as to why locals virtually ever receive rewards from the cement industry. Chittorgarh is divided into three unequal sections by the Gambhiri and Berach rivers, with the first section running between the two rivers in the old city area and the second between the two rivers and the UNESCO-listed Chittor Fort.
The third component is the outlying settlement that lies—and grows—beyond the Berach. The corridors inside the fort are still crowded due to encroachment. People continue to be outraged as a result of repeated reports warning of both legal and illegal mining damaging the monument near the fort. Both the Congress and the BJP are plagued by infighting in the five assembly districts of Chattorgarh, Badi Sadri, Begun, Kapasan, and Nimbahera.
The party’s traditional voters support Chandrabhan Singh Aakhya, a two-term BJP MLA from the Chittorgarh constituency. Rumors that local Chittorgarh MP and BJP state president CP Joshi would succeed Aakhya have raised eyebrows here. The Aakhya-Joshi conflict is widely discussed. There are also rumours about Jaipur’s Vidyadhar Nagar MLA Narpat Singh Rajvi being considered by BJP as the Chittorgarh candidate.
The ‘local vs outsider’ debate in BJP has been rekindled as a result of these possibilities. A close assistant to CM Ashok Gehlot, Surendra Jadawat, an ex-MLA from this area, is expected to run for Congress. In 2013 and 2018, he came in last.
The arrival of RLP in Kapasan, a seat designated for SCs, guarantees a triangular struggle once more. There are many Jat voters in the constituency. Shanti Lal Dhobi of the RLP received 27,400 votes in 2018, influencing the Jat electorate and giving Arjun Lal Jingar of the BJP the victory.
The Nimbahera constituency, which is the hub of India’s cement industry, is represented by Udailal Anjana of Congress, the wealthiest candidate in the state and a current minister. Srichand Kriplani, a former MLA and supporter of Vasundhara Raje, is reapplying for a BJP ticket for the seat.
In Begun, the reappearance of an old video that allegedly depicts Rajendra Singh Bidhuri, a sitting Congress MLA, kicking a farmer’s turban has aroused discussion both inside and without the party.