A day before the BJP election panel meets in New Delhi to pick candidates for the Rajasthan assembly elections, LK Advani on Thursday warned that MLAs who face a high anti-incumbency risk that may prevent Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje from winning a second term may be axed.
Advani told a packed mahakumbh (mega conclave) of the BJP’s booth-level workers: “Raje has done a great job.” She is one chief minister who is not relying on promise but on the work she has done in the last five years, he added. “So, the government itself does not face any anti-incumbency issues, but some MLAs may. So we will have to drop an MLA here or there. That should ensure that Raje returns to complete her unfinished task.”
He pointed to the BJP’s success in Gujarat where many MLAs, whose report cards were not up to the mark, were axed. “Whatever may be the propaganda against us, as it was noticed in Gujarat, we can win if our work has been good and we have the right people (candidates).”
In Rajasthan, the BJP has to decide how many of its 120 sitting MLAs should be nominated again.
Advani’s warning came at the end of an exercise that saw the BJP rally all its senior leaders around Raje.
Having resolved the Gujjar crisis, Raje believes her government is on a strong wicket. Taking a dig at detractors within her party and the opposition Congress, she dared them to bring proof of corruption. “By God’s grace, I have a big house and all that I need. I have a dream to see nobody in Rajasthan goes to sleep without food or a job,” she stated.
Imitating Modi’s ‘Jeetaga Gujarat’, the chief minister used the slogans Jai jai Rajasthan (victory to Rajasthan) and Nahi rukega Rajasthan (nothing will stop Rajasthan) to urge workers to ensure that the people come out to vote.
Other BJP leaders — particularly party chief Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu (who is in charge of the campaign) and Gopinath Munde (general secretary in charge of Rajasthan) — urged the BJP workers to work hard for Advani to become prime minister. They touched on several subjects like price rise, the agrarian crisis and terrorism as chief national issues but strictly avoided any mention of “Hindu terrorism”.