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As BJP seeks united Rajasthan front, ‘moderate’ Raje puts Hindutva foot forward

Whereas the message rising from the assembly the BJP central management had with its senior Rajasthan leaders on Tuesday was of unity, together with a sign that the social gathering wouldn’t venture a chief minister face, former CM Vasundhara Raje seems to be positioning herself for the function.

Up to now fortnight, Raje has adopted a markedly pro-Hindutva stand in focusing on the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress authorities, in a shift in her political stance. Her statements adopted a go to to Delhi final month, the place the BJP nationwide vice-president met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, nationwide BJP president J P Nadda and different senior leaders.

Earlier this month, Raje accused the Gehlot authorities in Rajasthan of practising ‘appeasement politics’, quickly after an April 1 order of Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Restricted directed 10 districts underneath its jurisdiction to make sure there have been no energy cuts in Muslim-dominated areas throughout Ramzan.

“Individuals within the state are usually not solely observing Ramzan however are additionally fasting for Navratri within the scorching warmth. Why is the state authorities involved solely about Ramzanis and never different residents?” Raje tweeted on April 5, together with a duplicate of the order.

Raje’s Hindutva shift comes at a time when the Rajasthan BJP is witnessing an influence wrestle, with many leaders hoping to be CM candidate in subsequent 12 months’s polls. (The Press Reporter Archive)

On Monday, Raje accused the Rajasthan authorities of neglecting temples, and promised one in each district if the BJP was voted to energy. When her social gathering was in energy in Rajasthan, she mentioned, that they had spent Rs 550 crore on the event of 125 temples and Rs 110 crore on a panorama of fifty gods and goddesses and saints.

Raje’s Hindutva shift coincides with the jostling for one-upmanship inside the state BJP forward of subsequent 12 months’s polls. Additionally it is as a lot a shock for the state as her personal supporters.

Recognized to be among the many average faces within the BJP, Raje earlier caught to growth in her marketing campaign pitch, steering away from Hindutva. This was seen as one of many causes for her alienation from the BJP dispensation of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, and her language now could be a bid to shut the hole. “I’ve by no means heard her speak so brazenly about Hindus and appeasement. The statements replicate her efforts to as soon as once more come to the forefront of the Rajasthan BJP,” mentioned a former member of Raje’s Cupboard.

The 2-time CM additionally had Muslim faces in highly effective positions in her Cupboard, together with Yunus Khan (2013-2018), who was thought-about to be Raje’s most trusted aide and the second-in-command in her authorities. He held necessary Cupboard portfolios such because the Public Works Division.

Within the 2018 Meeting elections, Khan had been denied a ticket from his seat Deedwana in Nagaur district, in what was seen as a snub by the Centre for Raje. He was as an alternative fielded from Tonk, in opposition to senior Congress chief and CM contender Sachin Pilot. The one Muslim candidate of the BJP in Rajasthan, Khan had misplaced by an enormous margin.

Other than the Central management, Raje additionally had frosty ties with senior BJP leaders corresponding to Ghanshyam Tiwari and Madan Dilawar with robust roots within the RSS. After the 2018 elections, Tiwari had floated his personal social gathering however was introduced again into the BJP in 2020 by state president Satish Poonia, who can also be near the RSS.

The shift in Raje’s political stance was additionally evident in her statements on the current violence in Karauli district, the place communal clashes erupted following alleged stone-pelting at a bike rally passing via a Muslim-dominated space on Hindu New 12 months on April 2, resulting in arson.

“The Gehlot authorities…is making an attempt to impose restrictions on Hindu festivals via administrative orders. This received’t be tolerated,” Raje mentioned in Karauli whereas on a go to to the district within the aftermath of the violence.

A sitting BJP MLA and a former minister mentioned: “Muslim leaders corresponding to Yunus Khan had been inducted into the BJP by former CM and vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. It was a practice that continued underneath Raje. The non-public picture of each Raje and Shekhawat was that of moderates inside the BJP. Nevertheless, with the BJP shifting in direction of extra aggressive Hindutva-based politics, the leaders thought-about moderates are following swimsuit with a view to survive within the social gathering.”

Raje loyalists inside the Rajasthan BJP insist she was “at all times dedicated to the BJP’s ideology”. “We observe the road of motion determined by the parliamentary board of our social gathering. Proper from the start, our social gathering is concentrated on points corresponding to Article 370, Ram Mandir and the Uniform Civil Code. Vasundharaji’s mom Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia was an energetic member of the VHP and was concerned within the Ram Mandir motion,” mentioned BJP Chhabra MLA and Raje supporter Pratap Singh Singhvi.

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