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Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra begins today: Village decked up for Vasundhara Raje’s 3rd visit, villagers recount woes

Vasundhara Raje will traverse more than 6,000 km during the 40-day tour of the state. But for the residents of Garbhor, the village where the temple is situated, not much has changed since 2003, when Raje started her Parivartan Yatra after seeking blessings from Charbhuja Ji, another name for Vishnu.

Written by Deep Mukherjee | Garbhor |
Updated: August 4, 2018 12:31:33 pm
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje performs rituals in front of the ‘Vijay Rath’ — a customised bus — in Jaipur Friday. She will travel in the bus during the Gaurav Yatra. (Express Photo by Rohit Jain Paras) Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje performs rituals in front of the ‘Vijay Rath’— a customised bus — in Jaipur, Friday. She will travel in the bus during Gaurav Yatra (Express Photo/Rohit Jain Paras)

As one walks through the serpentine alleyways leading to Charbhuja Nath temple in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, the green and saffron of BJP flags can be seen all around. It is from here that Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will embark on the Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra on Saturday, in the presence of BJP president Amit Shah, in a bid to retain power in the Assembly elections later this year. Raje will traverse more than 6,000 km during the 40-day tour of the state. But for the residents of Garbhor, the village where the temple is situated, not much has changed since 2003, when Raje started her Parivartan Yatra after seeking blessings from Charbhuja Ji, another name for Vishnu.

“The politicians come to seek blessings from the deity and leave. We have seen Raje, L K Advani, Rajnath Singh come here for two yatras. But they didn’t look back… These roads were in very bad condition. They were repaired two days ago for the CM’s visit,” says Nandkishore Sharma, who owns a shop nearby.

“A thousand devotees from Rajasthan and other states visit the temple every day. But the government has made no arrangements for their lodging. There is one dharamshala, which is in shambles,” says Heeralal Gurjar, former sarpanch of Garbhor Gram Panchayat.

After winning the elections in 2003, Raje returned to the temple in 2013 to launch the Suraj Sankalp Yatra. After the elections that year, she returned to power with a thumping majority. This is the first time she will be embarking on a yatra while in power. The event on Saturday will also mark the official beginning of the BJP’s election campaign in the state.

Around 500 families from the Gurjar community live near the temple. They have been serving as priests for many generations. “The politicians come here to meet Thakur Ji, then they leave and return again only at the time of elections,” says Ramlal Gurjar, one of the residents. After the yatra is flagged off by Shah on Saturday, Raje will hold her first public meeting at J K Stadium in Rajsamand. “We are expecting around 2 lakh at the rally tomorrow,” Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Arun Chaturvedi told The Indian Express.

This Rajasthan election is largely being seen as a litmus test for the ruling BJP after its defeat in by-elections in two parliamentary and one Assembly constituency earlier this year. The opposition Congress has slammed the government, with former CM Ashok Gehlot terming Raje’s yatra a ‘vidai yatra’. State Congress president Sachin Pilot said that they would ask the CM one question every day during the 40-day tour.

Near the temple, the dharamshala bears a deserted look. Devotees were sprawled on the grounds. “We have come from Sojat in Pali district. We are staying outside because the rooms are not fit for staying. There are no toilets. We relieve ourselves behind the building,” says Dayal Chand, a devotee.

Renovation of the dharamshala finally started in April this year. “We are expecting the work to be complete September-end. It comes under the Devasthan Department, the expenses will amount to more than Rs 1 crore. Currently there are no facilities provided by the department for the lodging of devotees,” said Jatin Gandhi, Assistant Commissioner, Devasthan Department, Udaipur.

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