Two BJP CMs on yatra in poll-bound Rajasthan, but ex-CM Raje absent
Lack of enthusiasm among cadres attributed to former Rajasthan CM staying away.
JAIPUR: In its bid to regain power in Rajasthan, the BJP is making 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 to participate in the Yatra.
But the absence of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje from these Yatras was conspicuous and a focal point of discussions. While Assam CM 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. Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami joined in the Jhalrapatan area of Jhalawar.
In their distinct styles, the three BJP luminaries vehemently attacked the Gandhi family, Congress and the Ashok Gehlot-led government of Rajasthan. The Assam CM 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’s in the Women’s Reservation Bill. Such actions should not have been taken.”
UP deputy CM Maurya was no less critical in Alwar. He particularly targeted what he called the “rampant corruption” in the Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan. Similarly, Uttarakhand 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 fought on the faces of CM Gehlot versus PM Modi. In this scenario, 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 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 denied any internal divisions within the party.