Is Vasundhara Raje’s absence damaging BJP's chances?

Jaipur

A political crisis is raging in Rajasthan and the existence of the Ashok Gehlot government has been put on stake. The crisis began during the recently held Rajya Sabha election on June 19. Gehlot thwarted all attempts and conspiracies and is presently in the process of ensuring safety and stability of his government. His management skills are a sharp reminder of the RS poll for 4 seats held in Rajasthan four years ago. It also raises the question – if BJP had designs of joining forces with Sachin Pilot to topple the government, why was their own leader with a proven track record not used.

Gehlot’s management skills are a sharp reminder of the RS poll for 4 seats held in Rajasthan four years ago. It also raises the question – if BJP had designs of joining forces with Sachin Pilot to topple the government, why was their own leader with a proven track record not used.

In 2016, Vasundhara Raje was the CM. It was her second term. The job was ensuring victory of BJP candidates for 4 RS seats. The numbers were stacked in a way a slight slip of a vote or two could cause the defeat of one candidate – something Raje could not afford. The candidates in the fray were then Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, BJP national vice president Om Mathur, Dr Harshavardhan Singh and RSS man Ram Kumar Verma.

Like the extra candidate fielded by BJP this time, even then, a section of Congress had fielded former Union minister, industrialist Kamal Morarka as independent.

In a house of 200, each candidate needed 41 votes to win. BJP had 160 and was short of 4. Morarka had the support of 36 from Congress and other parties and was short of 5 votes. All that was needed was a swing of five votes to ensure the win of Morarka and defeat for any one of the 4 BJP candidates. Raje took her flock along with other independents and MLAs from sworn opponent Zamindara Party to a resort and let them off after voting was done. All 4 BJP candidates had won.

The supposed differences between Raje and Modi-Shah have relegated Raje now to a back seat. The saffron party is establishing new leadership in Rajasthan; one that would last the party for the next two decades. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say politics is all about using every available resource. This raises the question: does Rajasthan need Raje to form a govt in state?

Undeniably, Raje with her loyalists within BJP and connections in the opposition and independents, combined with her style of blending fear with charm could give better results. Would it not make better sense for BJP to put Raje in the loop? This apparently does not match BJP’s plans for Rajasthan leadership. Thus, being the shrewd politician she is, Raje maintains stoic silence and stays away from the BJP’s political adventures in the state.

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