CM Raje’s Gaurav yatra raises hopes on old issues, BJP upbeat on poll gain
Around 9 am on August 24, women from remote villages started assembling at Police Lines in Jaisalmer city where chief minister Vasundhara Raje was to address a Mahila Shakti Sammelan.
Clad in colourful Rajasthani attire, most of them were clutching a sheaf of papers that they wanted to hand over to the chief minister.
“Hamari kachchi basti hai. Hume pucca makan chahiye PM Awas Yojaya mein (We live in huts. We want pucca houses under the PM housing scheme),” said Gauri Devi who was eager to meet the chief minister.
Raje’s Gaurav Yatra might have been in news for the protests staged in Jodhpur division, but the yatra has also given an opportunity to the rural folks to be heard and get their issues addressed.
In addition to the individual complaints, Raje has received memoranda from some little-known associations, such as ‘unauthorised guides association’, which want the government to announce new vacancies for guides, during her two-day yatra of Jodhpur division so far.
The issues being raised have remained on the back-burner for the past many years, but with elections round the corner, everybody is hopeful of an early resolution.
Some long-pending demands, such as construction of a girls’ hostel in Jaisalmer, were accepted by Raje at the women’s convention, much to the delight of the gathering.
“The individual complaints mostly relate to lack of water supply, a few cases of electricity supply, land allocation, and construction of pucca houses,” said Jogi Devi Bishnoi, vice-president of the BJP Mahila Morcha, Jodhpur.
After patiently waiting for about four hours, Gauri was finally happy that her ‘kagaz’ reached the chief minister although her wish to hand it over personally was denied by the security personnel.
Like her, several other women present at the event were able to hand over their “documents” to Raje in hope that their long-pending problems would be solved.
“Our workers had been visiting villages and hamlets in Jaisalmer, Barmer and other nearby districts for 15 days prior to the event, talking to people and taking feedback about their problems. We have made a file of all the documents. The big issues were handed over to the chief minister while smaller ones will be handled by the MLAs and heads of local bodies,” said Giridhar Kanwar, former deputy head (Up Pradhan) of Jalore.
The protests by Rajputs notwithstanding, the BJP is upbeat about the political dividends of the response it has received during Raje’s rally.
Jaisalmer MLA Chhotu Singh Bhati said announcements made by Raje during launch of the second phase of the Gaurav Yatra and her acceptance of long-pending demands will benefit the BJP.
On the other hand, the state Congress has asked the BJP government to explain the delay in implementation of the Barmer refinery project. Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot said Raje has stalled many development projects sanctioned during his regime and the Gaurav Yatra would be her “Vidai Yatra.”
Raje’s poll yatra has also given an opportunity to ticket aspirants for the assembly elections to make a show of strength with their supporters.
While Jat leaders are hopeful of landing a ticket in Jaisalmer, Rajput leaders are vying for tickets in Barmer and Pokhran.
After a war of words between the BJP and Congress over the stone-pelting incident in Piparcity (Jodhpur) on August 25, all eyes are on the next leg of the yatra when it resumes on August 29 from Jaitaran in Pali district.