After missing bypoll nominations, Raje at 5th place in star campaigners list

A day after remaining absent from nomination rallies organised for bypolls to be held on three seats of the state on April 17, former CM Vasundhara Raje found fifth place in the star campaigners list released on Wednesday.

Rajasthan in-charge Arun Singh topped the list while Bharati Ben had second position. Third on the list is BJP state president Satish Poonia followed by leader of opposition Gulabchand Kataria, while former CM Vasundhara Raje is on fifth position.

On Tuesday, Raje was seen nowhere during the nomination filing process while all other senior leaders marked their presence. Surprisingly, Raje was also seen missing from all posters in three districts where bypolls are scheduled on April 17 which include Rajsamand, Sahada and Sujangarh.

BJP sources confirmed to IANS that Raje’s name was nowhere on the list of star campaigners for bypolls on Tuesday.

However, on Wednesday, a day after a mega show marked the event of filing nomination papers sans Raje, the BJP released a list of campaigners where Raje was given a fifth position.

Meanwhile the state BJP team confirmed that although BJP has given the fifth position to the former CM, it is not confirmed if she will be addressing rallies.

“We are unsure if Raje will join the campaigning for she was absent during the nomination papers filed in Rajsamand and Sahada on Tuesday. Former MLA Kiran Maheshwari was quite close to Raje and a senior minister in her cabinet, and now when her daughter has been given a ticket after the demise of Kiran due to Corona, Raje should have been there to extend her blessings to Dipti Maheshwari. However, she continued maintaining her differences and distance from party activities despite a strong warning given by Rajasthan in-charge Arun Singh to introspect and contribute for the party cause,” confirmed a senior BJP leader.

Raje has been residing in Rajasthan since the last one week and could have shown her contribution by polls but her conspicuous absence from major events is beyond understanding, he added.

Meanwhile, a BJP leader told IANS unofficially that Raje’s name on fifth position has been added as a due respect for the senior leader. “However, what raises alarm for us is the fact that 21 candidates have filed 25 nominations from a small place like Sahada and 17 candidates have filed 24 nominations from Rajsamand and 15 have filed 19 nominations from Sujangarh. It’s a fact that internal forces are influencing more such candidates to file nominations to dent our vote per cent,” he added.

When asked why the list has been released a day after the party staged mega shows and rallies on Tuesday in the absence of Raje, a BJP worker said that the decision had been taken at the central level and they are better placed to answer this question.