India won its independence from the colonial Goras way back in 1947. But the people of India are still suffering due to some Rajas, Maharajas and Maharanis. Despite being a democracy, the influence of these ‘Royals’ still exists who maintain their hegemony at all costs. And this in turn impacts the execution of the democratic processes in the country. One such royal is the former chief minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje Scindia often addressed as ‘Rani’ by the masses of Rajasthan.
Political parties often live in the illusion that the presence of influential candidates will benefit the party but instead, these ‘influential’ ones clip the wings of the party and deliberately keep the party subdued. Rajasthan BJP is the victim of similar influence and the ‘royal blood’ responsible is none other than the Rani Vasundhara Raje Scindia. The party is paying the price of keeping Raje at the helm of affairs in the state and the recently concluded Rajya Sabha polls has brought it into open.
Rajasthan fought for 4 Rajya Sabha seats
57 members have been elected to the Upper House of the Parliament in the last week. While the majority of them won unopposed, a heated battle was seen for the rest of the 16 seats, out of which 4 lay in Rajasthan. The Bhartiya Janata Party ended up winning just one seat whereas the Congress party registered victory on 3 Rajya Sabha seats.
The three seats that went into Congress’ court ensured the terms of party giants Pramod Tiwari, Mukul Wasnik and Randeep Singh Surjewala. With Ghanshyam Tiwari’s win, the BJP claimed one of the four seats whereas the media boron independent candidate backed by the BJP Subhash Chandra failed to make a cut.
All this happened when BJP had the numbers. In the state assembly, Congress has 108 legislators and the BJP has 71 members in the 200-member assembly. Out of the total 200 votes, only 199 were valid and one vote was rejected. Randeep Surjewala, Wasnik and Pramod Tiwari got 43, 42 and 41 votes respectively while BJP’s Ghanshyam Tiwari got 43 votes and Chandra was constrained at 30.
BJP loses due to an insider
Numbers clearly suggest that the BJP had 30 surplus votes and to win a second seat, it needs another 1. Congress needed 15 more votes to win the third seat. The Congress was clearly winning two seats and BJP’s calculation was tight on one seat. The main contest was on the fourth seat between Subhash Chandra and Pramod Tiwari.
With yesterday’s result, Congress’ tally of Rajya Sabha MPs from Rajasthan will increase to six while BJP will hold 4 seats. And the tally looks this way not due to Congress’ magic but due to a BJP insider who ditched the saffron party and went on with her loyalty to the political enemy.
Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Gulab Chand Kataria admitted that one BJP MLA had cross-voted, which hurled the victory of Subhash Chandra. Kataria said, “How can we win two seats when we had the votes to win just one seat? We lost nothing. As far as cross-voting by one MLA is concerned, the party will take action for violating the whip.” While BJP state president Satish Poonia had told the media that the party high command has been informed about the cross-voting done by Dholpur MLA Shobha Rani Kushwaha.
The culprit: Kushwaha or Raje?
The Bhartiya Janata Party has suspended MLA Shobha Rani Kushwaha amid the allegations of cross-voting. The party’s disciplinary committee issued a show-cause notice to Kushwaha on Friday, asking her to respond within seven days explaining why should she not be expelled from the party under the allegations of cross-voting.
BJP justified its hard stance against the MLA by stating that she had breached the party whip by not voting for the BJP candidate and casting her ballot in favour of Pramod Tiwari, which violates rules framed in the party’s constitution.
The one thing that must be brought to notice is that Kushwaha is a close aide of former CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Kushwaha’s constituency also falls in the stronghold of the Raje, who has been a bit of an outlier in the state BJP.
Dholpur holds additional importance to Raje as she has been married to the Royal family of the Dholpur family and is addressed as ‘Maharani’ by the people there. In the earlier elections as well it has been noticed that Dholpur has been a singular focus of Raje and her government.
And the MLA of Dholpur involved in cross-voting points towards the biggest problem of Rajasthan BJP, Vasundhara Raje Scindia herself. Raje did not have all going her way even before the 2018 assembly elections when the party lost the state to Congress under her leadership. BJP taking lessons from the past slogans, “Modi tujhse bairn nahi, par Rani teri khair nahi” has decided to fight this election under the leadership of PM Modi himself. The sidelining of Raje has not been taken well by the Raje camp and the Rajya Sabha stint can be seen in this light.
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