Rajasthan: Vasundhara Raje sidelined by the BJP on selection of party’s nominees

The BJP Chief Amit Shah in consultation with the party leadership has decided to select the candidates by including the feedback of the grass-root level party workers, minimising CM Vasundhara’s role

PTI Photo
PTI Photo
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Prakash Bhandari

With the announcement of the dates of the assembly election in Rajasthan, the state has come under election mode with the mandatory election code of conduct coming into force. A political rally which was organised at Ajmer to mark the culmination of the Gaurav Yatra was addressed by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi where the Prime Minister lauded the work of the BJP government in the state under Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje .

Gaurav Yatra which was designed  by the BJP to take the Chief minister to various districts with the report card failed to arouse much interest and the Gaurav Yatra ran into rough weather when the High Court through an order barred the state government not to include any government function like launching or foundation stone laying of any project, thus making it clear that no government functions could be organized under the garb of a political function. This took the steam out of the chariot of Vasundhara Raje and the Yatra lost its objectivity with poor turnout of people during the Yatra.

The Vasundhara Raje government is facing a strong anti-incumbency factor and negativity too in the state. The Chief Minister, who literally also leads the party from the front with the state unit president Madan Lal Saini hardly stressing himself and the party affairs are literally executed by the former BJP President Ashok Parnami, who was removed as the party chief following the party’s dismal performance in the two Lok  Sabha and a Vidhan Sabha by-elections. The  by-election results  proved disastrous for the BJP government and the  party’s top bosses in the state felt that the party’s structure was crumbling in a state that gave the party its best-ever  electoral victory when the party won 163 out of 200 seats of the assembly securing 45.1 percent votes against Congress’ 33.1%. The BJP under Vasundhara Raje inflicted a massive body blow to the Congress that could get only 21 seats.

But in less than five years, the wind was missing in the BJP’s sail and it became a rudderless ship with the by-election verdict showing its displeasure with the state government first because of poor development work and second because of the rampant corruption. The party cadre was humiliated by the babudom and the MLAs were handled by the babus.

The frequent pre-election visits of the BJP supremo Amit Shah to various parts of the state gave him the impression that the people were unhappy with Vasundhara’s leadership and because of this, the party was suffering. Both Sachin Pilot, the PCC president and the former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were drawing a bigger crowd than the Chief Minister.

Sachin Pilot asked more than 35 questions to Vasundhara Raje through media which neither the state government nor the BJP’s media machinery could answer. The BJP was shrouded in a cloud of negativity and uncertainty and  Amit Shah found that the party would not be able to finish ahead of the emerging Congress.

Amit Shah decided to give Vasundhara a rude shock by sidelining her in the process of ticket disbursement. Various regional committees with a large representation of people with the RSS background would be given the task of shortlisting the candidates for the 200 seats electoral battle in December. The RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat recently went on a ten-day visit to Rajasthan. The party insiders feel that  Bhagwat was given the feedback by the RSS workers from all over the state about the low popularity of the Vasundhara Raje and that the party might not fare well under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje. Based on the feedback of the RSS, Amit Shah in consultation with the party’s leadership decided to select the candidates by including the feedback of the grass-root level party workers. All the Union ministers from the state and the party’s state level functionaries were involved in the various committees that were set up. The committees were asked to report to Amit Shah directly, thus minimising the role of Vasundhara. This was certainly a shock for Vasundhara, who earlier had succeeded in stalling the decision of Amit Shah to appoint Union minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as the state unit president. Thus, the state unit had no president for more than a month when  Rajya Sabha member and a political lightweight from the OBC, Madan Lal Saini was appointed the president largely on the recommendation of the Chief Minister.

The BJP’s manifesto issued during the last Assembly election is a document that shows many unfulfilled promises made by the BJP. Instead of the 15 lakh jobs that were promised to the youth, only 1.5 lakh persons were given employment. The manifesto of the BJP would show how the BJP government in the state failed to fulfill the aspirations of the people that gave the saffron brigade a massive and unprecedented mandate. The BJP is going to face the music and will find the going really tough against an emerging Congress in the state.

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