File photo: BJP leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje.(PTI)
File photo: BJP leader and former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje.(PTI)

Raje kicks off religious yatra, vows to oust Gehlot govt in Rajasthan

  • Rajasthan BJP chief launched a programme against the state government, experts see factionalism in the party.
By HT Correspondent, Jaykishan Sharma
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 11:27 PM IST

By Suresh Foujdar

Former Rajasthan chief minister and BJP national vice-president Vasundhara Raje started a two-day religious tour from Bharatpur on Sunday with an attack on chief minister Ashok Gehlot, saying that she had sought the blessing of lord Giriraj Maharaj to throw out the Congress government with the support of people.

Giriraj Maharaj is the deity of a temple in Bharatpur from where she started her yatra. Coinciding with Raje’s religious yatra, state BJP chief Satish Poonia launched a ‘Halla Bol’ programme through social media against the state government on loan waiver, law and order, and women’s safety, a development that experts see as a divide in the party.

“The development of the state has stopped. I have come to pray to Giriraj Maharaj to bless and give strength to all of us so that we can uproot this anti-development Ashok Gehlot government, which is divided into two, and bring out development to the state again,” Raje said, addressing a gathering in Bharatpur.

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“I am deeply grateful to everyone for the love and blessings that the people of the state gave me on my birthday.” Raje celebrated her birthday with her supporters in Bharatpur.

She said, “I have a strong faith in this area. That is why our government got the development of Sapta Kosi and Braj Chaurasi Kos Parikrama Marg at a cost of 200 crore and worked for the conservation and development of the famous Vimal Kund at a cost of 3.60 lakh. Pahari Distributary Gurgaon Main Canal was developed at a cost of 11.12 crore. To quench the thirst of Bharatpur, Dholpur, Alwar, Jhalawar, Baran, Kota, Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Tonk, Jaipur, Dausa and Karoli districts, our government had started work on the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) project after getting a detailed project report done.”

Raje said her government had sanctioned 1,600 crore for the construction of Navnera Barrage in Kota district. The work on Navnera Barrage is in progress.

“The state government should not do politics on the ERCP, a lifeline for 13 districts, because it is the religion of the state government to fulfil the basic needs of the people. They should carry forward this project of ours. Not only in this region but development has stopped in the entire state,” she said.

Raje thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for paving the way for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Referring to Bharatpur, which is an important Krishna circuit, she said, “It is a happy coincidence that a grand Ram temple is being built in Ram Janmabhoomi from the sacred stones of this holy Krishna Janmabhoomi area. I have a deep connection with this religious area, so this time I have decided to pay homage to the holy places of worship here and celebrate my birthday.”

Sandstones from the Bansi Pahadpur hills of Bharatpur are bring used for constructing the Ram temple.

Raje said, “Today, all I can say is that my mother (late Vijaya Raje Scindia) has lit the ‘deepak’ (political symbol of Jan Sangh) and has nourished the lotus. She neither allowed the flame of the lamp to subside nor did she let the lotus fade. BJP and nationalism were in her veins and I am her daughter.”

After a night halt, Raje will attend the early morning arti at Adi Badrinath temple in Bharatpur on Monday and will then go to Kedarnath temple at 12.30 pm. She will leave for Dholpur in a helicopter.

According to reports, over 100 senior BJP leaders, including MLAs, MPs, former ministers, and party post holders, have reached Bharatpur to join Raje in her yatra. Most of the hotels in the city of Bharatpur are booked.

Those who are in Bharatpur include Ranjita Koli, BJP MP from Bharatpur, Dr Manoj Rajoria, MP from Karauli-Dholpur; Sukhvir Singh Jonpuria, MP from Sawai Madhopur; and Ram Charan Bohra, MP from Jaipur.

Senior leaders like Bhawani Singh Rajawat, along with former minister Yunus Khan, former state BJP chief Ashok Parnami, former women’s commission chief Suman Sharma and Babaulal Verma were also present in Bharatpur.

Meanwhile, Poonia, while addressing the ‘Halla Bol’ programme via social media, said, “BJP has launched the programme on misrule, anarchy, corruption, inaction, crime and vandalism that have taken place across the state in the 27 months of the Congress rule.”

Political experts say the divide between the senior BJP leaders is visible.

“BJP national president JP Nadda had come to Jaipur a few days ago to unite the party leaders but his efforts are not converting into results. Before her last tenure also, Raje had carried out a religious yatra and the poll results went in her favour,” said Om Saini, senior political journalist.

“However, this time the situation is different, and factionalism will not bring fruitful results for them,” he added.

Another political analyst Tribhuvan said Raje had made it clear about her strength. “By mentioning 'deepak' and 'lotus' in her address, she clearly stated she has a rich political legacy of not only BJP but also Jan Sangh,” he said.

“This time, Raje’s approach is not casual. Poonia holding the programme today indicates the uneasiness in the other faction,” he added.

Factionalism within Rajasthan BJP has become more evident recently, with MLAs close to Raje writing to state party chief Poonia, complaining of being ignored in the state assembly. Earlier, her supporters held a meeting in the name of a ‘chintan baithak’ in Kota city and pitched for her to be the chief ministerial candidate in the next assembly polls.

Reacting to allegations of Raje and Poonia, state Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma said, “There is a clash going on in the BJP for their survival. As both leaders cannot target each other publicly, they are taking the name of our party leaders.”

State BJP spokesperson Mukesh Pareek said, “Our respected leader Raje regularly visited religious places even when she was CM. Today’s programme of Raje was religious while ‘Halla Bol’ was completely political. Seeing both the events in the same light is not justifiable.”

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