Gujjars and Meenas are the two major communities comprising around 16% population in the state.


NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently unveiled the Dausa stretch of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway. The stretch will operate through the Gujjar-Meena belt. The saffron party’s projection of it signals that the party is going to focus on the two castes which plays a decisive role in around 28 seats out of the 200 Assembly seats in the state.
On the inauguration of the Delhi-Dausa-Lalsot section of the Delhi-Mumbai expressway, PM Modi said the expressway is going to benefit people in districts such as Dausa, Alwar, Bharatpur, Tonk, Bundi and Kota, as they could reach the big markets of Delhi, especially for agricultural produce. Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, among others, were present at the inaugural ceremony. “This is just a trailer. The film is yet to come,” adding, “Rajasthan is a land of brave people.”
This was PM Modi’s second visit to the state in a fortnight. In his first visit, he went to Bhilwara district on 28 January to attend a function marking the birth anniversary of Lord Devnarayan, a deity revered by Gujjars. The second one was on the last Sunday where he visited Dausa district in eastern Rajasthan. The district has a significant presence of Gujjar and Meena communities.
With this development, the BJP may also give Kirodi Lal Meena a greater role in the party in the state. He has been five-time legislative member of the Rajasthan Assembly and two-time Lok Sabha parlaimentarian. Currently, he is a Rajya Sabha member since 2018.
It was heard in the close circles of Amit Shah, that he had asked Kirodi Lal Meena if he has chief ministerial ambitions to which he had answered that he has no CM ambitions. Moreover, it is presumed by leaders close to Meena that he would get a say in ticket distribution in the Meena-Gujjar belt, which was a part of Meena’s agreement with Amit Shah.
But when Vasundhra Raje won 163 seats in 2013, she had minimal seats from the belt. A political analyst in the state said, “It is unlikely this time as well that BJP would gain much from the area as Gujjars are with Sachin Pilot and Meenas have supported Congress in the past.” However, another section of political observers believe, with Congress being a divided house and BJP being a party of possibilities, they can pull anything off with their strong electoral machinery and their expertise in narrative building. Analysts say that there is no certainty that he will get to decide all the seats, there could be someone else coming from other party saying that he is also a strong leader and has strong hold in some Meena areas. Or, there would also be other individual leaders having influence in their respective areas and would want to contest from their areas. “Angering them may not bode well for the party,” an analyst said. Gujjars and Meenas are two major communities comprising around 16% population in the state, with Meenas’ population of around 8% out of around 8 crore population. The other two communities are Rajputs and Jats with 15% and 12% population share respectively.