The formation of a new outfit in support of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has created ripples in the political circles in Rajasthan, with its office-bearers claiming to be “active Bharatiya Janata Party members” and raising the banner for Ms. Raje’s appointment as the CM for the third time in the event of the party’s victory in the 2023 Assembly elections.
The letterhead of the ‘Vasundhara Raje Samarthak Rajasthan Manch’, which closely resembles that of the BJP, carries the pictures of Ms. Raje and her mother Vijaya Raje Scindia. The Manch has appointed its office-bearers in 25 districts and announced its plans to generate awareness about the schemes, policies and works of the governments led by Ms. Raje in the past.
Manch convenor Vijay Bharadwaj said here on Saturday that the outfit was formed last month with the objective of strengthening the BJP and supporting Ms. Raje.
“We will work to ensure BJP’s victory in the next Assembly election and return of Ms. Raje as the Chief Minister,” he said, adding that the wings for women and youth and an IT cell would also be created shortly.
The Manch has been floated in the midst of rumours about Ms. Raje’s growing differences with BJP’s State leadership and the increasing clout of the party’s central leaders in the State. Ms. Raje’s absence in a meeting convened by BJP national president J.P. Nadda in New Delhi earlier this week on the upcoming Assembly byelection in the State was also perceived as an attempt to sideline her.
The new entity’s formation is being seen in the political circles here as an effort of Ms. Raje’s supporters to assert her authority amid friction in the party. The BJP State unit has taken a stand that the Manch was only being floated on the social media platforms and the central leadership would take a decision on it.
Ms. Raje, who has been conspicuous by her absence in the posters of BJP’s regular events, has generally maintained silence on the issues of the State and avoided making a public appearance. She held the Chief Minister’s post twice in Rajasthan, first from 2003 to 2008 and later between 2013 and 2018.