At PM Modi event on girl child, black flags for Rajasthan CM Raje
Public anger against chief minister Vasundhara Raje was apparent on Thursday as a section of the crowd waved black flags at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public meeting in Jhunjhunu to launch the National Nutrition Mission and extend the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign.
As Raje got up to speak, some people started hooting and waving black flags and banners. Raje continued her speech despite the protest.
Several BJP leaders, including MLA Shubhkaran Chaudhary, and police officials were seen rushing to the corner to pacify the crowd. Sources familiar with the protesters said they were local people.
This was the first time that black flags were raised at a public meeting of the Prime Minister in Rajasthan. Modi had held three public meetings in Rajasthan earlier -- in Udaipur, Barmer and Suratgarh.
Politically the BJP government has been facing a rough weather in the state after losing bypolls and civic bodies polls.
Modi had visited Barmer on January 15 to launch commencement of work of the Barmer oil refinery. The bypoll results were announced on February 1 and BJP lost all three.
After the bypoll loss, some party leaders and workers demanded a change in the state leadership ahead of assembly polls later this year.
A day before the PM’s meeting, the BJP faced another defeat in local bodies polls on Wednesday with the Congress winning 20 of 33 seats.
Modi who had praised Raje during his Barmer trip did not commend the CM, apart from extending birthday greetings to her. Modi had also extended wishes to Raje on Twitter.
Shekhawati region in north Rajasthan, comprising Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Churu districts, has been a Congress stronghold. Of the 21 assembly seats, the BJP has only 10 in the region.
Sikar saw a massive farmers’ protest, led by the CPI-M, for crop loan waiver last year. Raje announced Rs 50,000 one-time waiver for all farmers who have taken loans from cooperative banks.
The BJP government hoped to offset the negative sentiment by holding Modi’s public meeting in the region. But going by the reaction of the public, it might have a tough job on its hands.
Addressing the meeting, the CM said, “If our daughters study and become empowered, it will lead to empowered homes, society and eventually an empowered state. We are making efforts to ensure our daughters get educated and empowered.”
She said the state government has introduced schemes, such as Rajshri and Padmakshi, under the BBBP campaign.
Under Rajshri, Raje said, the government was giving Rs 50000 financial help to girls at different stages from birth to class 12. Under Padmakshi scheme, meritorious girl students are given Rs 1,00,000.
The girl students who get good grades are given laptops, scootys and cycles. In the past 4 years, the state government has distributed about 43,000 laptops, 9000 scootys and 11.5 lakh cycles, Raje said.
The CM said under BBBP, she has adopted 300 meritorious girl students and will take care of their education.