If the BJP leadership is still not able to understand the importance and charisma of Vasundhara Raje then it would be very difficult for the party to give a tough fight to the Congress, whose leader in the state, Ashok Gehlot, has been praised by the masses for his Covid management.
By Anil Sharma
After the results of the three assembly by-polls in Rajasthan came out on May 2nd, it became more evident that how important former chief minister Vasundhara Raje is for the party in the desert state.
Raje’s absence in the polls, as she was busy nursing her daughter in law who was reportedly sick, cost BJP a lot. Though out of three assembly seats BJP was able to retain the single-seat where it had won in the last assembly polls, in reality, status quo in three seats, that’s fine, but what is concerning is that BJP saw a decline in vote percentage and Congress an upswing.
Congress retained the two seats — Sujangarh and Sahada with massive margins and BJP was able to retain Rajsamand by-polls, though, with a small margin.
The thing, in fact, is worrisome and should be troubling the BJP leadership in Delhi is the voting percentage. The Congress under the leadership of chief minister Ashok Gehlot, and the strategy by AICC general secretary and in charge of Rajasthan Ajay Maken and monitoring and extensive campaigning by the state Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasara helped the Congress to up its vote percentage by a hefty 10 percent, a big jump indeed.
In 2018 assembly polls the Congress on these three seats was able to garner 41 percent votes now it has climbed to 51 percent in this by-polls.
A 10 percent jump is substantial and if BJP leadership is still not able to understand the importance and charisma of Vasundhara Raje then it would be very difficult for the party to give a tough fight to the Congress, whose leader in the state, Ashok Gehlot, has been praised by the masses for his Covid management.
Frankly, the time has come for the BJP after these by-polls to rethink its strategy, to introspect, and to give due importance and a free hand to Vasundhara Raje, who still is the most charismatic leader in the BJP in the state. Raje no doubt is the most charismatic leader in the BJP in Rajasthan and frankly there is no match of Raje in the state in the BJP when it comes to mass appeal and following in the state.
The present president of the BJP in the state, Satish Punia, needs to answer a lot of questions as he toured all the three constituencies extensively and her close confidants like former cabinet minister Rajendra Rathore was given responsibilities for the polls. But all these leaders failed miserably. They need to answer tough questions that as to why the vote percentage of BJP declined and that of Congress went up remarkably. It seems the present dispensation in the BJP lacks leadership qualities and failure to connect with the masses.
The central leadership of the BJP in Delhi needs to question the present BJP organisation in Rajasthan and responsibility should be fixed for the substantial decline in vote percentage. They (BJP central leadership) have to read between the lines and have to understand that a vertically divided house will not help the party to give even a fight to the Congress, forget about winning in the state. The party has got ample time in its hand to fix up the things as assembly polls are due in 2023 November/December.
Raje, if given a free hand, surely with her political astuteness can bring factionalism and divisions in the party to an end. Plus BJP leadership has to understand that in the 2018 assembly polls, Raje’s strike rate, that is wherever she campaigned, was much higher in comparison to other leaders including some Central leaders.
Raje should be given more freedom and her advice should be taken seriously if BJP is to be strengthened in the desert state. There have been some complaints against her style of functioning in her two terms as chief minister of Rajasthan, but now she seems a changed leader altogether. She is meeting party workers on a regular basis and even taking their feedbacks.
During present difficult Covid times too, it is Raje who has come forward with a new Twitter account “Office of Vasundhara Raje” (@OfficeVRaje) to serve patients, their families, and friends requiring help during these difficult times and she so far has been able to provide help in getting normal and oxygen beds, ICU beds in hospitals, oxygen support and plasma in hundreds.
This is what leaders do during a crisis.