Blind ballot

  • 14/06/1994

WHATEVER the outcome of the byelection in Rajasthan's Rajakheda assembly constituency on May 26, it will be remembered for one thing: GATT as a campaign issue. Previously, elections in Rajakheda were always contested along caste lines: Brahmins versus the rest. But now, Samajwadi Party candidate Mohan Prakash, a former legislator and prominent member of Gene Campaign, claims GATT will overshadow caste issues.

Prakash, a Brahmin, says, "I am contesting this election as a test case. This is the first time this issue will be focussed on in an election. The government has signed the agreement, but the laws required for implementation still have to be passed. If I win, no political party can afford a weak stance on this issue."

BJP nominee Manorama Singh, the widow of Mahendra Singh -- whose death precipitated the byelection -- is expected to coast to victory on a sympathy wave. But even she stresses the "evils" of GATT.

Only Congress nominee Pradyuman Singh keeps harping on "fighting the Brahminical order". But his son Bikram Bohra, who handles election strategy, admits that GATT cannot be ignored. Says Bohra, "We have made adequate preparations and can give Mohan Prakash a suitable reply."