Jaipur: While the message from the BJP’s central leadership meeting with senior Rajasthan leaders on Tuesday was one of unity and a promise that the party will not project a chief minister face, former CM Vasundhara Raje looks to be positioning herself for the position.
Raje has taken a significantly pro-Hindutva posture in focusing on the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress authority over the past fortnight, signalling a shift in her political orientation. Her remarks came during a trip to Delhi last month, during which the BJP’s national vice-president visited Prime Minister Narendra Modi, National BJP President J P Nadda, and other top leaders.
Raje accused the Gehlot authorities in Rajasthan of engaging in ‘appeasement politics’ earlier this month, shortly after a Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Restricted order on April 1 directed 10 districts under its jurisdiction to ensure there were no power outages in Muslim-dominated areas during Ramzan.
“Folks within the state are usually not solely observing Ramzan however are additionally fasting for Navratri within the scorching warmth. Why is the state authorities involved solely about Ramzanis and never different residents?” Raje tweeted on April 5, together with a replica of the order.
Raje’s Hindutva turn comes at a time when the Rajasthan BJP is undergoing a power struggle, with numerous politicians vying for the position of chief minister in next year’s elections.
Raje accused the Rajasthan government of ignoring temples on Monday, promising to build one in each district if the BJP was elected to power. She said that while her festival was in full swing in Rajasthan, they spent Rs 550 crore on the event of 125 temples and Rs 110 crore on a panorama of fifty gods, goddesses, and saints.
Raje’s Hindutva turn coincides with a battle for one-upmanship inside the state BJP ahead of next year’s elections. It’s as much of a shock to the state as it is to her fans.
Raje, who is widely regarded as one of the BJP’s more moderate faces, has previously steered clear of Hindutva in her campaign appeal. This was considered as one of the reasons for her estrangement from the BJP’s Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, and her language today may be an attempt to close the gap. “I’ve by no means heard her speak so overtly about Hindus and appeasement. The statements mirror her efforts to as soon as once more come to the forefront of the Rajasthan BJP,” mentioned a former member of Raje’s Cupboard.
The two-time CM also had Muslim faces in high-ranking posts in her Cabinet, including Yunus Khan (2013-2018), who was regarded as Raje’s most trusted adviser and second-in-command in her administration. He was in charge of crucial Cabinet positions including the Public Works Division.
Khan was refused a ticket from his Nagaur district seat of Deedwana in the 2018 Meeting elections, which was considered as a snub by the Centre for Raje. He was fielded from Tonk as a replacement for senior Congress chairman and CM aspirant Sachin Pilot. Khan, the BJP’s only Muslim candidate in Rajasthan, lost by a big margin.
Apart from the top brass of the BJP, Raje had sour relations with prominent BJP figures like Ghanshyam Tiwari and Madan Dilawar, both of whom had deep links to the RSS. Tiwari launched his own party after the 2018 elections, but was welcomed back into the BJP in 2020 by state president Satish Poonia, who is close to the RSS.
The shift in Raje’s political attitude was also clear in her comments on the recent unrest in Karauli district, where communal skirmishes occurred on April 2 after suspected stone-pelting at a bike demonstration travelling through a Muslim-dominated area, resulting in burning.
“The Gehlot authorities…is attempting to impose restrictions on Hindu festivals by way of administrative orders. This gained’t be tolerated,” Raje mentioned in Karauli whereas on a go to to the district within the aftermath of the violence.
A sitting BJP MLA and a former minister mentioned, “Muslim leaders akin to Yunus Khan have been inducted into the BJP by former CM and vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. It was a convention that continued beneath Raje. The private picture of each Raje and Shekhawat was that of moderates inside the BJP. Nevertheless, with the BJP transferring in the direction of extra aggressive Hindutva-based politics, the leaders thought-about moderates are following go well with to be able to survive within the celebration.”
Raje loyalists inside the Rajasthan BJP insist she was “all the time dedicated to the BJP’s ideology”. “We comply with the road of motion determined by the parliamentary board of our celebration. Proper from the start, our celebration is concentrated on points akin to Article 370, Ram Mandir and the Uniform Civil Code. Vasundharaji’s mom Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia was an energetic member of the VHP and was concerned within the Ram Mandir motion,” mentioned BJP Chhabra MLA and Raje supporter Pratap Singh Singhvi.