BJP ropes in outside CMs but Raje remains absent from Parivartan Yatras in Rajasthan

The party roped in two Chief Ministers and one Deputy CM from three BJP-governed states in Yatra rallies, a sign of its big expectations from the 4 Parivartan Yatras.

Published: 20th September 2023 11:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th September 2023 11:43 PM   |  A+A-

BJP flag. (Photo | PTI)

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Express News Service

JAIPUR: In its bid to regain power in Rajasthan, the BJP is investing significant efforts in the final leg of its 'Parivartan Sankalp Yatra'. On Wednesday, the party roped in two Chief Ministers and one Deputy CM from three BJP-governed states in Yatra rallies, a sign of its big expectations from the 4 Parivartan Yatras in the election-bound state.

While Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma joined the Parivartan Sankalp Yatras in CM Ashok Gehlot's home turf in Jodhpur district, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya was fielded in Alwar; and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami in the Jhalrapatan area of Jhalawar. Nonetheless, the conspicuous absence of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje from these Yatras remains a focal point of discussion.

In their distinct styles, these three BJP luminaries vehemently attacked the Gandhi family, Congress and the Ashok Gehlot-led government of Rajasthan. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma accused the Gandhi family of fostering an atmosphere against Sanatan values in the country and directed a scathing critique towards Sonia Gandhi.

Sarma remarked, "Sonia Gandhi made an unfounded statement, including Rajiv Gandhi in the Women's Reservation Bill. Such actions should not have been taken."

Taking aim at Chief Minister Gehlot's free schemes, Sarma asserted, "This time, ahead of the elections, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot appears quite apprehensive. This is evident from the frequent announcements being made. If public welfare were the priority, these schemes would have been launched earlier.” “ It has become a Congress tradition to distribute mobile phones, laptops, and spice packets before elections. I have personally witnessed this tradition closely within the Congress," Sarma added further.

If Sarma was caustic in Jodhpur, UP deputy CM Keshav Maurya was no less critical in Alwar. He particularly targeted what he called the rampant corruption in the Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan. 

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya participated in the Parivartan Sankalp Yatra in Thanagaji town of Alwar. While addressing the public meeting, Maurya said that the people of Rajasthan can win 25 out of 25 seats in the Lok Sabha and can win 200 out of 200 seats in the Assembly elections.

While talking to the media, Maurya said, "In Rajasthan, I clearly see that the Bharatiya Janata Party will have a record victory. The people here have forgotten everything, they only remember Narendra Modi and the lotus flower."

Similarly, CM Pushkar Singh Dhami criticised the Gehlot government for its alleged mishandling of women's issues.

Dhami stated, "Since independence, Congress-led governments in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have consistently worked to erode our cultural identity. The numerous incidents that have transpired in Rajasthan over the last five years, especially the mistreatment of women, cannot be overlooked, yet the Congress government remains silent."

Despite the BJP's concerted efforts, the level of enthusiasm among party workers during the Parivartan Sankalp Yatras does not match the fervour observed in election year. The primary reason for this appears to be the absence of CM Vasundhara Raje from these visits, with Raje not even attending the public meeting organised by CM Pushkar Dhami in her home district of Jhalawar.

Notably, this marks the first time in several elections that the BJP has entered the electoral fray without declaring its chief ministerial candidate. Party insiders suggest that this time, the Rajasthan elections will pivot on the faces of CM Gehlot versus PM Modi. In this scenario, Vasundhara Raje has not been nominated as the candidate, and this strategy by the BJP high command has yet to yield significant results, with the elections drawing near.

Vasundhara Raje has been synonymous with the BJP in Rajasthan for over two decades, wielding substantial influence within the state organisation and commanding the loyalty of more than half of the BJP MLAs and MPs in the state. She has never been one to easily bow down and is perceived as a leader who won't tolerate prolonged disrespect.

Experts suggest that if necessary, Raje may not hesitate to engage in a one-on-one battle with the party's high command. This scenario has led to confusion among candidates and party workers, torn between attending these rallies and potentially provoking Raje's ire or abstaining and risking displeasure from the high command. Consequently, the BJP's Parivartan Sankalp Yatra in Rajasthan appears somewhat lacklustre.

However, BJP leaders staunchly deny any internal divisions within the party. Pushkar Singh Dhami, speaking at a public meeting in Jhalawar, asserted, "The BJP is the largest party globally, and here, everyone works together. In Rajasthan as well, everyone will collaborate harmoniously." But it still remains to be seen whether the BJP high command will assign substantial responsibilities to Raje in the days ahead, or if this visit will ultimately be regarded as a perfunctory exercise in this election year.

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