Vasundhara Raje trying to ‘re-establish’ herself as face of party in Rajasthan

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Ahead of next year’s assembly polls in Rajasthan, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is trying to re-establish herself as the BJP’s face there. She is meeting the party’s central leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and participating in party events.

Raje is currently a Bharatiya Janata Party national vice president and was visible at several events including the swearing in ceremonies of the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments in Lucknow and Dehradun respectively. There is speculation in the saffron camp that by her presence at party functions Raje is trying to re-establish herself as the party’s face in Rajasthan.

Raje has not attended several programmes of the BJP Rajasthan unit in the past citing various reasons. In the last one week, however, Raje met Prime Minister Modi, BJP chief J P Nadda, a couple of senior Union ministers during the second half of the on-going budget session of Parliament.

A senior party functionary said that the former chief minister is now trying to reclaim her position as the face of the BJP in Rajasthan by becoming active. “After the BJP defeat in the 2018 Rajasthan assembly polls, Raje was sidelined by the party leadership over allegations of running a parallel organisation for self-promotion instead of the party. By making an appearance in party programmes Raje is trying to send a message that she is active and relevant. She is also meeting the central leadership to win back their confidence before next year’s assembly polls,” he said.

A fight over party faces for next year’s election has already started and all the camps have begun asserting their claim to lead the BJP in the 2023 Rajasthan assembly polls.

Raje’s differences with Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia is an open secret in the state. A party insider said that the former chief minister still wields strong influence in the Rajasthan unit and now she is trying to end her differences with the central leadership well before the assembly polls scheduled at the end of 2023.

“There is no doubt that she is one of the strongest leaders in the party’s Rajasthan unit with influence across the state. Her involvement in party activities will only help the party in the assembly polls next year. But the important question is whether she gets the support of the central leadership or not,” he said.

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