JAIPUR: Former Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhra Raje has welcomed her nephew Jyotiradtiya Scindia's entry into the saffron party claiming that he has followed the high ideals of his grandmother Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia. Vasundhra Raje is the sister of Jyotiraditya’s father, the late Madhavrao Scindia who died in a plane crash in 2001.
Now a national Vice President of the BJP, Raje said in a statement, "Jyotiraditya Scindia took the decision to join the BJP, saying he has followed high ideals of the legecy of Vijay Raje Scindia and took the decision in the interest of the country, I welcome this decison personally and politically."
Vasundhra Raje also tweeted that it was good to have her nephew on the same team. "If Rajmata Sahab was here today, she would be elated to see you put the nation first. I admire your strength of character and courage. It's good to be on the same team. Welcome to the BJP."
Political buzz about Vasundhra's future
But the buzz in the political circles is that Jyotiraditya's paternal aunt and the stalwart of the Rajasthan BJP may end up as a likely looser after her nephew’s entry, specially in view of her strained relations with the Modi-Shah duo.
Many say his entry could make it further difficult for Raje to stage a comeback in the mainstream of BJP politics.
There are also other arguments that once Jyotiraditya gets a Cabinet rank in the Modi government, accomodating one more Scindia (Raje or her son Dushyant Singh) in the union cabinet will be impossible.
Though Raje has been reluctant to take over any responsibility outside Rajasthan, she has always been keen on getting some crucial protfolio in the union cabinet for her son, Dushyant.
In fact, many still remember that the Raje-Modi tensions had begun soon after the BJP victory in 2014 when Vasundhara as CM had demanded a cabinet berth for her son Dushyant who was a four-time MP from Jhalawar but was ignored.
With the BJP in power both at the Centre and in Rajasthan, the lack of a dialogue between Modi and Vasundhara was also much in focus. Later, Raje also had quite a battle with BJP Chief Amit Shah when he wanted to make Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, the President of Rajasthan BJP, a Member of the Parliament from Jodhpur the move that was opposed by Raje.
After the BJP lost the Rajasthan elections in 2018, Raje was gradually sidelined. She was not made the leader of the Opposition in the rajasthan Assembly and most important posts were filled up by RSS-backed leaders who had always opposed Raje in the past.
These included Gulabchand Kataria who was made LOP, to Satish Poonia who was made BJP state chief, to Gajendra Singh Shekhawat being made a senior Cabinet Minister at the Centre to Om Birla being made Lok Sabha Speaker.
These were all huge setbacks to the Raje camp though she is still making all efforts to return to power in 2023.
But Raje’s hopes after Jyotiraditya’s entry may only get tougher to turn into reality. Once his cousin gets a major portfolio in the modi Cabinet, Dushyant’s chances of ever becoming a Union minister will be virtually over.
Even Raje’s chances of coming back as CM face in Rajasthan for 2023 elections are likely to now suffer a jolt.
A senior critic of Vasundhra says that till now Raje’s stature was built around being a popular BJP face, a two-time CM and on being the tallest claimant to the political legacy of her mother Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia. But with Jyotiradiya’s entry, the BJP has found a glamorous and younger face to carry forward Rajmata’s political legacy.
As such, though Raje, like most in the BJP, is currently happy over Jyotiradiya’s entry into the BJP, in the long run, her own political future may now seem even more uncertain.
But the Vasundhara camp insists that Jyotiraditya’s entry will not create any problems for his aunt. As a Raje loyalist remarked, "She is still the tallest leader of BJP in the state and nobody can replace her. Even the BJP high command will realize this reality, sooner or later. Amit Shah is now not averse to the idea of a Vasundhra comeback if some suitable opportunity arises in Rajasthan, provided she also mends her ways in some directions."
Given the changed scenario within BJP, in recent times Vasundhra is trying to patch up with the local powerful RSS looby and has held a crucial meeting with Organizational General Secretary Chandrashekar and BJP party president Satish Poonia to sort out the internal differences and present a united face.