A two-day “temple yatra” undertaken by former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the Bharatpur region has depicted her strength within the Bharatiya Janata Party, with two dozen MPs and MLAs rallying behind her. Despite a rift visible in the Opposition party, Ms. Raje affirmed that the BJP would uproot the Congress government with people’s support.
The recent visit of party national president J.P. Nadda to Jaipur has apparently failed to patch up the differences between the rival camps. With Ms. Raje’s supporters raising the demand for projecting her as the chief ministerial face in the 2023 election, the yatra has sent a clear message that she could not be sidelined any longer.
The yatra was timed to coincide with Ms. Raje’s birthday on Monday. However, the legislators of her camp taking part in the tour were asked by the BJP to attend the Assembly proceedings during the ongoing budget session.
Addressing her supporters at the Adi Badrinath temple in Bharatpur on the yatra’s second day, Ms. Raje rejected the suggestion that her tour in the eastern Rajasthan districts and adjoining areas in Uttar Pradesh had anything to do with politics.
“This is not a show of strength, but a show of devotion,” Ms. Raje said. She said she would keep working for all communities while following the “dharma niti” (path of religion) and would again let the lotus bloom in the desert State, getting inspiration from her mother, the late Vijaya Raje Scindia.
The yatra undertaken in the region where the BJP had won only one seat in the 2018 Assembly election gave an indication that the two-time Chief Minister is reluctant to leave Rajasthan. The central leadership, with which Ms. Raje had recently raised her grievances, apparently wants her to play a more active role in national politics.
The State unit has also chalked out a plan to organise dharnas and demonstrations at the block level from March 9 to 14 to protest against the Congress government’s alleged failure on all fronts. State president Satish Poonia said the Congress had lost the moral right to govern in view of its inability to ensure development.