The former two-time CM Vasundhara Raje may have been sidelined after possible brushes with those in the topmost echelons of BJP.
Even as Rajasthan is to go to the polls in a few months its politics received an intriguing twist. The BJP’s nomination of two election-related committees was notable for the absence of the former chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union minister and another CM hopeful in the event of the party winning the polls.
A key state in the north, politics in Rajasthan politics has been clouded by the tug-of-war between the reigning chief minister and Congress veteran Ashok Gehlot and his bete noir in the young CM wannabe Sachin Pilot. While it appears, on the face of it, that the cracks in the ruling Congress have been papered over by a truce that the two warring Congress personalities have been forced into after the high command interceded, it is the BJP that seems to be in a bit of disarray.
The former two-time CM Vasundhara Raje, who was a force to be reckoned with in state politics, may have been sidelined after possible brushes with those in the topmost echelons of the national ruling party. While rumours about her being in a secret pact with the Congress CM are to be dismissed as typically engendered by local politics, her importance in the scheme of things at a crucial juncture is not to be underestimated.
Far from being cowed down by anti-incumbency, Ashok Gehlot had led the Congress to a resounding win five years ago despite his run-ins with Mr Pilot. The welfare schemes running in his regime may have strengthened his hold some more and the BJP will be battling the odds in the polls to be held later this year.
Vasundhara’s omission, which created a buzz, has been explained away by saying the manifesto and poll panels are only for work related to the elections and not befitting the stature of a former CM. The panels were formed by the local party chief C.P. Joshi rather than the central party command. The divisions in the two main contending parties, which cannot be brushed away in what they say in public, are certain to keep the pot boiling in the run-up to the polls.