The former Chief Minister of Rajasthan and ‘senior’ BJP leader Vasundhara Raje does not have all going her way since the saffron party lost the state assembly polls to the Congress party in 2018.
The BJP’s campaign was led by incumbent Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, despite a strong sense of aversion towards her among BJP voters in the state, and the country too. Since the poll debacle of 2018, Raje is not seen much and has visibly been sidelined by the top BJP leadership, particularly under National President JP Nadda’s tenure.
In a development which has initiated chatter among political circles regarding the imminent ouster of Raje from the saffron fold, her supporters have now formed a new outfit, saying they want to see their godmother – Vasundhara Raje as the Chief Minister again in 2023.
The development has stamped authority over allegations of BJP’s Rajasthan state unit facing some friction from within. The ‘Vasundhara Raje Samarthak Rajasthan Manch’ was floated on Friday by Jaipur-based lawyer Vijay Bhardwaj.
“We floated ‘Vasundhara Raje Samarthak Rajasthan (Manch)’ on December 20 and have appointed office bearers in 25 districts with an objective to publicise the achievements and policies of the former governments led by Raje in the state,” Bhardwaj told PTI.
Vijay Bhardwaj, who is also the State President of the manch, added that their outfit was not a parallel organisation (to the BJP), but a way to express loyalty for Raje. Bhardwaj added that various wings like the I-T cell, Mahila morcha, and a youth wing will also be created.
Essentially, Vasundhara Raje’s loyalists in Rajasthan are forming a near-fresh political outfit to campaign for her being projected by the BJP as the chief ministerial candidate in the 2023 state assembly polls. That, as is common knowledge, is highly unlikely to happen.
Already, the formation of the pro-Raje manch came in the backdrop of BJP President J P Nadda summoning top leaders from the state for a meeting in Delhi without inviting the former Chief Minister. State BJP Chief Satish Poonia, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Gulab Chand Kataria, and his deputy Rajendra Rathore were asked to rush to meet Nadda, according to the Indian Express.
Meanwhile, State President Satish Poonia, on being asked about the formation of Vasundhara Raje Samarthak Rajasthan Manch, said, “It is not a serious matter because it is more on social media only. Those who are behind it are not recognised, party leaders. This is already in the knowledge of the party’s central leadership.” Despite this, Vijay Bhardwaj claiming that the new outfit has already covered 57 Assembly segments, apart from having a waiting list of more than 2000 people who want to join in.
The general sense of aversion towards Vasundhara Raje has finally resulted in a semi-breakaway of her from the BJP. The party’s central leadership, meanwhile, seems to have understood that the slogan which could be heard in every nook and corner of Rajasthan in 2018 was no joke. “Modi tujhse bair nahin, Vasundhara teri khair nahin,” was a chant which could be heard on the streets of Rajasthan before the assembly polls in 2018. Of course, back then, the BJP leadership did not realise the seriousness of the sentiment. Now, they seem to have.