As Rajasthan approaches its imminent elections, the narrow lanes of Jodhpur inside Jalori Gate come alive post-midnight with the traditional “Hatai” gatherings.
JODHPUR: As Rajasthan approaches its imminent elections, the narrow lanes of Jodhpur inside Jalori Gate come alive post-midnight with the traditional “Hatai” gatherings. This assembly of mostly men in their 50s and above, convenes at a designated spot in the neighbourhood to engage in discussions, share knowledge, and indulge in activities such as snacking, reciting poems, and shayaris.
A prominent figure among the Hatai attendees, 60-year-old retired government officer Kailash Vissa, told The New Indian, “We have accurately predicted American election outcomes in the past, and today we share our insights about Rajasthan – BJP is poised to secure victory with 140-150 seats.”
Responding to questions about their confidence, a 55-year-old businessman, Rajesh Darbar, boldly stated, “Our discussions highlight that people are fed up with Gehlot and his appeasement politics. Everything he does seems to cater only to Muslims and malis, neglecting other castes.”
When questioned about the stronghold of Ashok Gehlot, where people have historically voted for the leader rather than the party, 52-year-old Ajay Singhvi dismissed this trend, asserting, “This time it will not happen. Communal clashes have left an impact, testing Gehlot’s commitment to us. We are done with him; this time it will be BJP.”
For the unversed, communal tensions flared up in Jodhpur on May 2, following an incident where a Bhagwa (saffron) flag was replaced with an Islamic flag on the statue of freedom fighter Balmukund Bissa at the Jalori Gate intersection – a gathering place for politicians, literary figures, and entertainers.
Notably, Shailesh Lodha, a well-known Indian poet, actor, comedian, and writer, recently visited the area to express support for BJP candidate Atul Bhanshali. Lodha emphasised his connection to the city, stating, “This is my city, these are my people with whom I grew up – I am proud to be Marwari, proud to be Rajasthani. I am here to support my brother Atul Bhanushali; he is family.”
Lodha further stressed the need for positive change in the city, citing issues like parking, cleanliness, and plastic usage. He believes that addressing these concerns can enhance the natural beauty of Jodhpur, making it comparable to other cities like Udaipur, Jaipur, and Kota.