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Royal Comeback: 5 years after losing power,Raje is set to return

BJP registered thumping victory in Raj,grabbing 162 seats,leaving Cong decimated at 21 seats.

Written by Sweta Dutta | Jaipur |
December 9, 2013 2:09:40 am

Victory or loss,however it may have panned out in Rajasthan for the BJP,the onus lay solely on state party chief Vasundhara Raje,who right at the outset had maintained that she would take the battle forward in the Assembly elections only if she was given a free-hand. The BJP Sunday registered a thumping victory,grabbing 162 seats that left the Congress decimated at 21 seats and none other than Raje can claim full credit for the unprecedented victory.

Raje,who won by a margin of 60,896 votes in Jhalrapatan and is poised to take oath as the chief minister,gave the credit for the victory to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

“The results are better than we expected. I did find a lot of frustration among the voters when I went out on the Suraaj Sankalp Yatra. A victory was expected but such figures have surprised us. We are grateful to the people of Rajasthan and promise to take the state to new heights,” she said.

Raje,who became the first woman chief minister of the still largely feudal state of Rajasthan in 2003,lost power in 2008 for what was called her high-handedness and miscalculation in the ticket distribution.

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The last five years can easily be called Raje’s most difficult years in her 30-year career in active politics. Losing power in 2008 not only hit her confidence but made the Maratha royal introspect on several counts. Raje,who always kept the RSS lobby at an arm’s distance,though did not succumb to its patriarchs but did soften her stand to appease one and all. As Raje has been admitting over the past few months,she has learnt to sober down,shed her prejudices and work as a team.

It is the same RSS that had sought her resignation from the position of Leader of Opposition in 2010 and then was forced to reinstate her yet again. However,Raje voluntarily gave up the slot to arch rival and critic Gulab Chand Kataria and instead sought overarching powers to lead the party in the assembly polls.

Kataria,a vocal critic of Raje and CM aspirant,earlier last year announced that he would proceed on a 28-day yatra but Raje stepped in,putting her foot down threatening to quit the party if Kataria did such a thing. The party high command intervened and Kataria fell in line and thus came Raje’s first victory in silencing her dissenters.

The other nagging irritant for Raje was senior party leader Ghanshyam Tiwari,who doubted her potential to lead the pack. On this one,Raje just smirked and ignored.

In February this year,Raje replaced former state president Arun Chaturvedi and left the Leader of Opposition seat vacant for Kataria,killing two birds with one stone. An appeased Kataria remained busy attending assembly sessions while Raje set out on the 80-day Suraaj Sankalp Yatra in March. She went out,felt the pulse and hit where it hurt the most — issues plaguing the people such as inflation,poor implementation of schemes,deplorable power and water conditions in the state.

She roped in Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the massive rally in Jaipur in September that marked the culmination of the Yatra and set the tone for the final lap of elections rallies.

Despite repeated interferences and recommendations from the RSS lobby,Raje refused to budge on ticket distribution and hand-picked each candidate. The candidates on whom Raje placed trust,proved her right on Sunday. Erstwhile Jaipur royalty Diya Kumari in Sawai Madhopur,Jagat Singh in Kaman,Manvendra Singh in Sheo are some of the many personal bets she placed and they came back with a thumping mandate.

Proving her detractors wrong,Raje is now poised to form government all by herself.

Rao Rajendra Singh,Prahlad Gunjal,Kalicharan Saraf,Vasudev Devnani,Laduram Bishnoi,Prabhulal Saini,Rajpal Singh,Yunus Khan are most likely to be in her cabinet while Gulab Chand Kataria,former home minister in Raje’s previous cabinet in 2003 too will make it.

Raje is also likely to accommodate Ghanshyam Tiwary mending bridges with the senior party leader.

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