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  India   Politics  14 May 2017  Vasundhara Raje silences opponents

Vasundhara Raje silences opponents

Published : May 14, 2017, 5:12 am IST
Updated : May 14, 2017, 6:11 am IST

After BJP’s win in Dholpur byelection, the clamour to replace her dies down and focus shifts to state polls next year.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. (Photo: PTI)
 Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. (Photo: PTI)

Jaipur: After winning Dholpur Assembly byelection, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje seems to be on a roll. Suddenly, the talks of replacing her have subsided and the focus has shifted on winning the state Assembly elections next year.

In sharp contrast to the days before Assembly byelection, the CM is now oozing with confidence.

In the recently-concluded meeting of the BJP’s state executive, she set up an ambitious target of 180 plus seats. How challenging is this target can be understood from the fact that the total strength of the state Assembly is 200, which means Ms Raje wants to win over 90 per cent seats.

In fact, for the first-time ever in her current tenure and especially after the Lalit Modi “fiasco”, Ms Raje looks assured of herself as she has stepped up attack on her political opponents in Congress as well as intra party rivals.

Her bête noir, Ghanshyam Tiwari, a known Raje basher and an old RSS hand, has finally been served show cause notice, which is just a formality before showing the door to him. Mr Tiwari missed no opportunity to attack her. Over the last two years, Mr Tiwari has been prepping the Deen Dayal Vahini, an outfit launched by him, as a force against Ms Raje and the state BJP leadership. Mr Tiwari’s ouster will further boost her grip on the party in the state and send a strong message to the dissidents.

Another way of gauging Ms Raje’s confidence is the way she is taking on the Opposition Congress, especially former chief minister Ashok Gehlot.

After the state executive meeting in Jodhpur, Mr Gehlot’s hometown, Ms Raje held a roadshow in response to Mr Gehlot’s allegations that her government was neglecting Marwar, particularly Jodhpur, signalling the onset of election season. The roadshow was thronged by large number of people despite severe heat wave.

Besides, the ACB arrested two close aides of Mr Gehlot — former MLA Jugal Kabra and former chairman of Jodhpur Development Authority Rajendra Singh Solanki. Kabra passed away in a Mumbai hospital a few days back due to liver cancer.

He was out on bail after being arrested in Jai Narayan Vyas University teachers’ recruitment scam. Mr Solanki is still in police custody for alleged irregularities in granting development works and projects.

How crucial these two men are to Mr Gehlot can be understood from the fact that the former chief minister himself gave a call for Jodhpur bandh against Kabra’s arrest. A few days ago, the former chief minister also went to a local police station at midnight to meet Solanki.

While the BJP has started preparations to achieve Ms Raje’s target of 180 plus seats, the Congress is yet to set its house in order. The Congress recently replaced general secretary in charge of Rajasthan Gurudas Kamat with lesser known Avinash Pandey who has his task cut out because of factionalism.

The old guards are working at cross purpose. Young PCC chief Sachin Pilot worked against all odds to resurrect the party and bring it in a position where senior leaders are now fancying party’s chances of coming to power and accordingly positioning themselves the CM’s post.

Mr Gehlot is breathing down Mr Pilot’s neck ever since the latter was sent to revive the party after it won only 21 seats under the former chief minister’s leadership. No opportunity was missed by him to keep CM debate alive.

The Congress high command didn’t help Mr Pilot’s cause by sending confusing signals. The appointment of Mr Pande, along with a team of AICC secretaries, including Vivek Bansal, Qazi Mohammed Nizamuddin, Devendra Yadav and Tarun Kumar, was announced while Mr Pilot was abroad, which along with Mr Gehlot’s elevation as AICC general secretary and in charge of Rajasthan was seen by his supporters as Mr Pilot becoming weak. With no Opposition within the party and the main Opposition party is disarray, it goes without saying that in the present circumstances there is no stopping to Ms Raje.

At a glance
A BJP leader, Vasundhara Raje is the current chief minister of Rajasthan. She served in the same post from 2003 to 2008. She is the first female chief minister of Rajasthan.

Personal background
Born on March 8, 1953 in Mumbai
She is the daughter of the last reigning maharaja of Gwalior of pre-Independence, Jivaji Rao Scindia, and Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, who was a political leader in the post-Independence India
She finished her schooling at the Presentation Convent, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
She graduated with honours in political science and economics from Sophia College, University of Mumbai
She got married into the Royal Family of Dholpur, in the eastern Rajasthan

Political career
Vasundhara Raje began her political career in 1984.
She became a member of the National Executive of Bharatiya Janata party
In 1985 she became the vice president of the Yuva Morcha of BJP in Rajasthan
She was also elected as a member of the 8th Rajasthan assembly from Dholpur in 1985
From 1989 onwards, she won four successive Lok Sabha elections from Jhalawar,

She is the present chief minister of Rajasthan. Departments held her
Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare
Small Scale Industries and Agro & Rural Industries
Atomic Energy and Space
Public Grievances and Pensions

In 2007, she received the “Women Together Award” by the UNO for services rendered towards self-empowerment of women

CM eyeing Rs 2,000 crore house?

Senior BJP leader Ghanshyam Tiwari, who was recently served a showcause notice by the party for criticising its state leadership and other anti-party activities, has launched an open attack against chief minister Vasundhara Raje.

Mr Tiwari, a known Raje-baiter, has accused the CM of trying to “keep” for life the government bungalow in which she is currently residing. Mr Tiwari alleged that the Rajasthan Ministers’ Salaries (second amendment) Bill, 2017 was an attempt to legalise the CM’s attempt to occupy 13, Civil Lines — her official residence — for life.
“The market value of 13, Civil Lines, which is presently the home of CM Raje, is estimated to be `2,000 crore. The bill has been brought in to ensure that the property, on which she has spent crores to convert it into a palatial home, remains with her for life,” alleged Mr Tiwari, who was law minister in the previous government of Ms Raje, but was ignored this time.

Ms Raje, after taking office in December 2013, decided to continue to live at 13, Civil Lines, where she was living since 2008, when the BJP lost the Assembly polls.

It was decided that 8, Civil Lines, which was earmarked as the official residence of the Rajasthan chief minister, would be turned into a state guest house.

The Rajasthan Ministers’ Salaries (second amendment) Bill, 2017 was introduced in the Rajasthan Assembly during the Budget Session.

Tags: vasundhara raje, state assembly elections, dholpur byelection
Location: India, Rajasthan, Jaipur