The last week of March sprung some surprises in Rajasthan’s politics after former chief minister Vasundhara Raje was seen on the dais at the swearing-in ceremony of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. This was more so after she had remained absent from major events like campaigning for the assembly elections in five states as well as the Rajasthan bypolls and crucial party meetings.
While Raje’s media team proudly shared the pictures of the swearing-in ceremony where she was seen standing with veterans of the saffron party, the video of the ceremony which went viral later told a different story.
In the video, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and national president JP Nadda can be seen moving ahead without greeting Raje. Later Raje, on her own, met Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Nadda. However, she did not go to Shah.
This video became the talk of the town and in the politics of the desert state and the differences of the former chief minister with the high command were once again discussed in every nook and corner.
Also discussed was her absence from campaigning in all the five states where assembly elections were held — Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur.
Hence, her sudden appearance at the oath-taking ceremony raised many eyebrows.
Later, questions were raised after Raje’s media team actively shared news of her next meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24. However, no news of the meeting or an update came from Modi’s Twitter handle which generally shares pictures of his meetings with senior leaders.
Pictures of Raje waiting for her meeting with Modi at Parliament House continued making the rounds on social media and the office of the Vasundhara team. However, the wait continued to see her picture of meeting Modi which did not come up.
Similar was the story of her meetings with Rajnath Singh and Nadda.
While Raje’s team shared the pictures of her meetings with Rajnath and Nadda with the media, both the leaders did not share any reference to their meeting with Raje on their Twitter handles.
Eventually, there are questions being raised about the silence by senior leaders in Delhi on Raje’s meetings even at a time when there is a lot of clamour in Rajasthan about these high-level meetings being held in Delhi.
Raje’s differences with the state organisation have been an open secret as she has been missing many meetings and programmes. But recently, in the MLAs’ meetings before the start of the assembly session, she was quite vocal and expressed her anguish at the party’s silence when her son’s residence was attacked.
The BJP lost the local polls in Baran by one seat after cross voting was reported due to which angry party workers pelted stones at Dushyant Singh’s (Raje’s son and MP) residence. However, the party remained silent and ordered a probe.
Party workers in the state confirmed that Raje has been inconsistent about her presence at major events and that is why there are such questions. In fact, she did not even attend the celebrations at the state party headquarters when the BJP won elections in four states. She and her son were celebrating the success alone. Also she did attend any major party programmes in the state.
“Assembly elections in Rajasthan are to be held at the end of 2023 and in such a situation, there is a tussle in the party regarding the chief minister face. The central leadership is planning to give her a role in central politics so that the discord in the state BJP can be ended. Although Raje is quite active these days and is constantly meeting leaders, their silence on her meetings tells a different story," said a senior leader while talking to IANS.
In Rajasthan, the BJP wants a strong team to challenge the Gehlot government, but is shying away from declaring the chief minister face. Earlier, Shah had visited Rajasthan, during which he announced contesting the elections without announcing the Chief Minister face. He had made it clear that the coming election would be fought under the leadership of Modi.
So now, all eyes are on the future role of Raje. Although she has become active in the last few days, how long will this activeness continue? Will she be absorbed in Delhi or be given one more chance in the desert state? How will her son be accommodated if she continues in Rajasthan politics as Modi has spoken and acted against dynasty politics during the recent UP elections?
These are some raging questions being discussed in political circles here, but the answers seem to be coming from Delhi, so let’s wait and watch, said a senior party member.
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