After storming to power in December 2013, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje is facing her first serious challenge in the controversy involving her and former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.
Having a smooth run for more than a year now, the revelations have provided fresh ammunition not only to her detractors in the state unit and the RSS but also to the opposition Congress, which on Wednesday announced to hold a sustained agitation across the state from Thursday demanding her resignation.
Considered a protégé of sidelined party veteran LK Advani, Raje had survived a move in the party last year to bring her to central politics, with a position in the Narendra Modi government. Sources said that she was determined to keep her grip over the state.
Raje’s relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also seen several ups and downs since their days when both were the chief ministers of neighbouring states.
Modi gave her a complete say in the ticket distribution during the last Lok Sabha elections and she delivered, securing all 25 seats.
State BJP president Ashok Parnami said in Jaipur that the CM herself acknowledged ties with Lalit Modi’s family but denied knowledge of the document being talked about.
Her sympathisers in the party argued that the central leadership could not adopt “two yardsticks for Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje”.
The central leadership seemed to have a different view though they refrained from coming out in Raje’s defence.
Raje has not had very friendly equations with many senior party leaders in New Delhi.
After the party’s debacle in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, she had to quit as the leader of the opposition in the state assembly under pressure from then BJP president Rajnath Singh.
Within the state, the CM is not known to get along well with many senior leaders, including home minister Gulab Chand Kataraia and former minister Ghanshyam Tiwari.
Her detractors are now likely to up the ante against her.