The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday named former MLA Ashok Kumar Pincha, who had lost in the 2018 State Assembly election, as its candidate for the byelection to Churu district’s Sardarshahar constituency in Rajasthan. The candidature of Mr. Pincha, belonging to the Jain community, left the local BJP workers surprised, as he has fought the Assembly elections five times in the past, but won only once in 2008.
Mr. Pincha, 62, has been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since the beginning of his political career and owns a pharmaceutical store in Sardarshahar. He was defeated in 2018 by veteran Congress leader and seven-time MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma by a margin of 16,816 votes. Mr. Sharma, 77, died after a prolonged illness on October 9 this year.
After Mr. Sharma’s death, a bypoll was necessary as the Sardarshahar seat fell vacant a year before the 2023 State Assembly election. Mr. Pincha will file his nomination papers on Wednesday after attending a party meeting which will be addressed by the BJP State president Satish Poonia and others.
The byelection is scheduled to take place on December 5. The ruling Congress is yet to announce the name of its candidate for the bypoll, though there were speculations that the party would field Mr. Sharma’s son, Anil Sharma, who is also chairman of the State Economically Backward Class Board.
Among the 2.89 lakh voters in Sardarshahar, Jats enjoy the majority with 67,000 voters, followed by Scheduled Castes, Brahmins, Muslims, Rajputs, Malis, Kumhars, Jains and Siddhas. While Mr. Pincha is from the trading Jain community, Mr. Sharma was a Brahmin and had joined the rebellion led by the then Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot in July 2020.