Shah’s visit makes it clear that BJP is taking Rajasthan mission 2023 seriously.


New Delhi: The recent visit of Union Home minister Amit Shah to Rajasthan where he addressed the Bharatiya Janata Party state working committee meeting sent a clear message that the party leadership was taking Rajasthan mission 2023 very seriously. In public, BJP leaders claim that the Home Minister’s visit was routine, as central leaders had been given the task to address the working committee meetings in states that are held after the national executive meeting. But observers of Rajasthan are reading much in Amit Shah going to Rajasthan.
Talking to The Sunday Guardian, two senior BJP leaders from Rajasthan agreed that Shah picking Rajasthan was significant as the leadership wanted the BJP to start its poll preparations and form the government decisively in 2023. One senior BJP leader who is also an MLA from Rajasthan said, “Amit Shah gave a clear message in Rajasthan that we have to form a BJP government in 2023 with a two-third majority. He also wanted to end the inner tussle in the state unit. In the last four years, out of seven Legislative Assembly bypolls, the BJP lost six. This has made the central leadership unhappy. In the 2019 Lok Sabha, we had won all the 25 parliamentary seats in the state. But the state elections are different and are fought on local issues. But the central leadership doesn’t want to take any chances as Rajasthan is not a small state. It matters in the Indian political chessboard. We have to win the elections decisively like in 2013, when we won 163 seats, got 45% popular vote and the ruling Indian National Congress (INC) was reduced to 21 seats”.
Another interesting aspect of Amit Shah’s address was that he heaped praise on Vasundhara Raje and mentioned her good work as Chief Minister, hinting that both the central leadership and Raje were working on a common mission to install a BJP government in 2023. The successive loss in the Assembly bypolls since 2019 acted as eye-openers for the party and rang alarm bells for the central leadership which wants its own house in order before taking on the Congress. The worrying factor in the bypolls was that the saffron party not only lost the seats, but its candidates stood third and fourth on two seats.
In the present Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, whose total strength is 200, the saffron party had 71 Members of Legislative Assembly while the ruling Congress had 109 members and had the support of more than 120 members. Since 1993, Rajasthan had never seen any party returning to power again successively.
Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Vijay Aganihotri, a Jodhpur-based political observer said, “Since the last two years, there was discomfort in the state unit of the BJP, the central leadership appointed Satish Poonia as the president, but the experiment has not been successful. No one in Rajasthan can disagree that Raje is a top leader. After the bypoll debacle, she started a Yatra which she claimed to be socio-religious and apolitical, but it is an attempt by her to make the party strong in the state and energize her own supporters.
After Amit Shah’s visit, one thing is settled that the central leadership had only one thing in mind: unity and pitching for collective leadership going into the battle of 2023 Assembly polls and not wanting to unsettle Raje.”