New Delhi: Former Rajasthan Chief Minister and BJP’s national vice president Vasundhara Raje, who has been conspicuous by her silence over the last several months, has now sent a message to her adversaries in BJP, saying that she wants to rule in the hearts of the people and that she is the leader who is connected with the masses down to grassroots.
During her visit to her flood-affected Jhalawar, Baran and Dhaulpur, Raje not only hit out at the state government for being “insensitive”, but also sent a message to her opponents within her own party. Raje is the only leader to have visited the flood-affected area this time. Neither anyone from the government nor any BJP leader has so far visited these areas. Only Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla was seen visiting his constituency Kota which was also flood-affected.
Raje’s visit took place amid the row over BJP posters not carrying her image. In fact, there were efforts to sideline Raje in the politics of the state BJP. A major faction of the party is working against her. There were statements against Raje as well in the past. Raje is the main target of the various factions of the BJP in Rajasthan. There is no denying that Raje is the only leader who has a strong clout across the state.
The efforts to sideline Vasundhara Raje had started during the 2018 Assembly elections. After BJP’s defeat in Rajasthan, the central leadership unsuccessfully tried to sideline Raje and establish some other leaders in place of her. Satish Punia was given charge of the state BJP unit. He also started working against Raje apparently at the behest of the leadership.
The infighting took a much worse turn amid efforts to destabilise the Gehlot government last year. After the government survived, Raje’s adversaries in BJP started targeting her only, saying that she did not cooperate. What followed all this was that Raje’s image was removed from BJP’s posters during three by-elections.
When her supporters protested, disciplinary action was taken against them. Raje also met the high command expressing displeasure over all this. But publicly she remained silent.
One of her loyalists, Rohitash Sharma has organized a “yatra” in Raje’s support. Several other Raje loyalists including Kailash Meghwal are also organizing several programmes in her support. Raje’s focus is on better mass connect. Vasundhara Raje’s visit to flood-affected regions was also part of this strategy. In a bid to connect herself with the grassroot people, she came heavily down on the State government for ‘being callous’ towards the affected residents. At the same time, when she was asked about the BJP posters sans her image, Raje sent a message to her opponents, asserting, “I want to rule in the hearts of the people, rather than in posters. My work should be remembered. I will not achieve anything through posters. Nothing is more important than receiving love and blessings from the people.” She also recalled the teachings of her mother Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia who was one of the founders of the BJP. Former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje remarked, “When I entered politics, Rajmata Sahiba told me that all five fingers are not the same. When you talk to people in the villages, you have to take everyone long akin to a family. Politics is not everything.”
Analysts believe that Raje has made it clear that she is the real leader in Rajasthan whom the public trusts, and that she cannot be ignored. Her message was also loud and clear for the leadership in Delhi. With Raje and her supporters getting active now, the BJP politics in Rajasthan will see the impact.