Is BJP fighting a lost battle? After Vijayvargiya, Vasundhara Raje talks of retirement

Raje and other top BJP leaders hinting at stepping back from the high-stakes assembly elections battle suggests a decrease in morale, despite the party's ample resources

Raje's retirement announcement is perceived by some as a strategic move to exert pressure on the BJP high command (photo: @VasundharaBJP/ X)
Raje's retirement announcement is perceived by some as a strategic move to exert pressure on the BJP high command (photo: @VasundharaBJP/ X)

NH Political Bureau

Is the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) fighting a lost battle in the Rajasthan assembly elections? Political observers who have watched Rajasthan politics for decades seem to believe the prognosis of a BJP debacle in the poll-bound state.

Former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhra Raje, the BJP’s most prominent face in the state, saying she wants to retire from politics is being seen as an early sign of that 'debacle'.

Raje is the second senior politician from the saffron party who has said that she wants to quit politics, amidst a high-stake assembly elections battle.

Before Raje, veteran BJP leader from Indore Kailash Vijayvargiya, who was once seen as chief minister material for Madhya Pradesh, said he has no desire to contest the elections.

Observers say the morale of the rank and file of the saffron party seems significantly down, despite all its money and muscle power. And the party, from Madhya Pradesh to Rajasthan, is struggling to keep its flock together. “They (senior BJP leaders like Vijayvargiya and Raje) do not want to be part of a defeated team."

Exploring the raison d’etre behind the sudden announcement of retirement by Raje, a Jaipur-based political watcher also said Raje wants to exert pressure on the BJP high command. “She basically has sent out a message to her loyalists and the party high command, that she should be declared the chief ministerial face,” he added.

Speaking at a public meeting in Jhalawar, where Raje’s son Dushyant Singh was also present, the former CM said, “After listening to my son, I feel that I should retire as you all have trained him so well that I don't need to keep pushing him."

“All the MLAs are here, and I feel that there’s no need to keep an eye on them as they will do the work for the people on their own. This is Jhalawar,” added Raje, before filing her nomination papers from the Jhalawar assembly constituency.

It is important to recall here that Raje, who was until some time ago considered the undisputed leader of the BJP in Rajasthan, has ostensibly been cut to size by the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo, being part of neither the BJP’s election management committee for Rajasthan, nor the election manifesto committee. Instead, the BJP high command has put its weight behind union minister Gajendra Sekhawat.

There has been speculation for a while about what role Raje, a five-time MP and four-term MLA, will play if the BJP wins the election in Rajasthan, said the Jaipur watcher.

Voting for the 200-member assembly will be held on 17 November and counting will be done on 3 December.

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