Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s adversaries may face a setback after bypoll results.

 

New Delhi: With the situation volatile in Congress and BJP in Rajasthan, the results of bypolls in three Assembly seats may trigger a massive infighting in both the parties.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is yet to expand his Cabinet and make certain long-due political appointments as well. The pressure politics in the Congress for the same is already underway. With this in view, it will be a challenge for Gehlot to strike a balance. At the same time, BJP may be in trouble if it tries to sideline former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.  Congress has already used Jyotiraditya Scindia’s campaign in bypolls to interpret it as “Bua versus Bhatija” so that groupism in BJP gets aggravated. In one of his election rallies, Scindia targeted Congress. But several political interpretations are being given to his campaign.

What has been seen in the past is that the Opposition never targeted the Scindia family, which is active in politics for many decades. In fact, Scindias never attacked each other despite being in rival political parties. Jyotiraditya’s father Madhavrao Scindia did not do anything that could demonstrate political rivalry with his mother Vijayaraje Scindia and sister Vasundhara Raje, while the both were in BJP. Madhavrao till his death continued to be affectionately attached with his sister Vasundhara after the demise of Vijayaraje. Jyotiraditya made his political debut with Congress and after over a decade joined his grandmother Vijayaraje’s party the BJP. Jyotiraditya also followed the political tradition and practice of his family. This is for the first time that the Opposition made an issue out of Scindia’s campaign in Sahada seat. With BJP local leadership trying to sideline Vasundhara Raje, Jyotiraditya’s acceptance of BJP unit’s invite to campaign in bypoll was used by the opposition as a political weapon to give bigger proportion to the “factionalism” within the BJP.

There are two factions in BJP. One is the BJP state unit itself. The second is led by Vasundhrara. On several occasions in the past, Raje has made her strength felt. Before bypolls, Raje carried out a religious yatra to send out a message that the party cannot do without her. But the state BJP unit ignored Raje when the bypoll processes began.

She was not even given space on the posters of the party candidates. As a result, Raje distanced herself from the byelections. Despite all explanations by State BJP president Satish Puniya, the Opposition made it an issue. Of the three seats going to bypolls, Sahada and Sujangarh were with Congress. Indications are that Congress will get both the seats back. Rajasamand seat was with BJP, which is witnessing a keen contest.

If Congress bags all the three seats, then there will be more infighting in BJP and Raje faction will emerge stronger. CM Gehlot’s political stature will also grow in this case. However, former Dy CM Sachin Pilot has already started stepping up pressure on Gehlot for political postings and ministerial berths for his supporters. But Gehlot does not seem to be coming under any pressure like this. BJP might be looking for any sign of dissent in the Congress. The saffron party is said to have been behind the crisis that the Gehlot government faced last year. The five state election results will also be playing a crucial role in affecting the politics in Rajasthan. With this in view, Gehlot may have more challenges to deal with.