BJP suffers poll setback in Raj, its minister loses to Congress in Karanpur

Jaipur: Rajasthan state minister Surendra Pal Singh lost the assembly election in Karanpur constituency by a margin of 11,283 votes to his Congress rival on Monday, an embarrassing defeat for the BJP days after it assumed office in the state.

The BJP nominee was inducted into the Bhajanlal Sharma ministry on December 30, ahead of the polling on January 5.

The minister of state (Independent charge) was later allocated Agriculture Marketing Board, Indira Gandhi Canal Department and Minority Affairs Department. Under the rules, he has to get elected as an MLA within six months of his appointment as a minister.

According to the chief electoral office, Congress candidate Rupinder Singh Koonar won 94,950 votes as against Singh’s 83,667.

There were 18 rounds of counting. This is the second time Singh has faced defeat in Karanpur constituency. He was defeated by Koonar’s father Gurmeet Singh in the 2018 Rajasthan assembly elections.

The election for the Karanpur assembly seat was postponed this time due to the death of Congress candidate Gurmeet Singh. The Congress then fielded his son from the seat.

“I am thankful to the people of Karanpur who voted for me. even central ministers had come for campaigning (but) people rejected them and made democracy win,” Koonar told reporters after winning the election.

Congress leaders congratulated Koonar even before the final results came in. Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot said the people of Karanpur have defeated the pride of the BJP.

“Hearty congratulations and best wishes to Congress candidate Shri Rupinder Singh Koonar for his victory in Srikaranpur. This victory is dedicated to the public service works done by the late Gurmeet Singh Koonar,” he said.

With Koonar’s victory, the number of Congress MLAs in the 200-member Rajasthan assembly has increased to 70. The BJP had won 115 of the 199 seats that went to polls on November 25.

Bhajanlal Sharma, a first-time MLA, was sworn in as the chief minister on December 15.