Tide turning within Rajasthan BJP, Vasundhara Raje’s followers want her as 2023 Chief Minister face


Tide turning within Rajasthan BJP, Vasundhara Raje’s followers want her as 2023 Chief Minister face

By Archana Sharma

JAIPUR: Equations within the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajasthan unit seem to be taking a turn as former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s followers have started a social media campaign pitching her as their leader for the 2023 polls.

Raje, over the last several months, has maintained a conspicuous distance from state party headquarters and has adopted a silence on any of the party’s activities as well.

The start of these campaigns on social media as such is being seen as a turn in the Raje camps.

The social media handles here these days are flooded with messages of Raje supporters who want to see her as the next Chief Ministerial candidate.

Raje visited the BJP state headquarters twice or thrice in many months now. Her silence and side-lining both have been discussed many times in political circles.

Presently, Satish Poonia is the state party president in Rajasthan and is known to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s choice.

Ever since Poonia was appointed as party president, Raje’s absence from the BJP state headquarters has been discussed widely.

The rift between Raje and central leadership was quite open post the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when central leadership elevated anti-Raje group as union ministers, which included Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as a Cabinet Minister while other leaders, including Arjunram Meghwal and Kailash Chaudhary were appointed as Ministers of State.

All three are not known to be from Raje group and hence were the choice of central leadership.

Vasundhara Raje wanted her son Dushyant Kumar to get a decent portfolio which did not happen and it had further widened the rift between her and the central leadership.

Also, the BJP’s alliance with Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantra Party widened the differences as Beniwal and Raje never had cordial relations and there was a question mark on this alliance from Raje’s followers.

Beniwal in fact had left the BJP and floated his own party following his growing differences with Raje. Raje remained absent when this alliance was announced before the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 in Jaipur.

Amid all this, Raje was out of the CM war. She had been the Chief Minister for two term from 2003-2008 and again from 2013-2018.

Things, however, started changing in the last few months when her followers started pitching for her. MLAs from her camp have already started an open war with her rival Beniwal.

MLA Pratap Singh Singhvi warned Hanuman Beniwal on Twitter to stop mudslinging against Raje and termed him as a regional leader who has his influence in a limited region.

Beniwal also openly accused Singhvi of helping the Gehlot government in different ways.

Earlier, Beniwal had accused Raje of helping Gehlot government to retain his government during the political crisis.

On Wednesday, former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Ashok Parnami, a staunch supporter of Raje, who was removed by central leadership as party president after it lost bypolls in 2018, joined the war of words with Beniwal.

Parnami who has also been quiet since the last many months has made a comeback of sort that appears to be part of a strategic plan for Raje’s return to the battlefield.

Parnami condemned Beniwal for threatening the BJP to desert the NDA and said he should know the duty of being an ally

Beniwal recently wrote a letter to Amit Shah to withdraw the farm laws or else he would reconsider the alliance with the BJP.

Poonia told IANS that the central leadership is keeping a close watch on all developments in the state. The reports of Beniwal’s spar with Raje’s followers has also reached Delhi. As the alliance with Beniwal’s RLP was a call of central leadership, they will take further action in all these matters, he said.

Source: IANS 

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