Gaurav Yatra: Raje likely to face bumpy road ahead

While the BJP has seized the initiative and set the ball rolling for the assembly elections, the path ahead for Raje is bumpy

rajasthan elections 2018 Updated: Aug 08, 2018 22:42 IST
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan News
Chief minister Vasundhara Raje meets people in Banswara.(HT Photo)

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje kicked off her 40-day statewide Gaurav Yatra from the Mewar region. While the BJP has seized the initiative and set the ball rolling for the assembly elections, the path ahead for Raje is bumpy.

Raje wants the 2018 assembly election to be centred on development and is emphasising on the work done by her government at all public meetings. She is also taking stock of the work done by her ministers and MLAs.

As her yatra rolls into Genji village in Dungarpur district, the chief minister boards the elevator fitted in the rath and from the roof addresses the crowd.

Raje talks about a list of development activities that have taken place in the village and asks the villagers to give her another chance to serve them.

Mewar region comprising Rajsamand, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, Pratapgarh and Chittor districts accounts for 35 of the 200 assembly seats.

Ahead of the elections, people are in the wait-and-watch mode. There seems to be more anti-incumbency against Raje than against the BJP. Prime minister Narendra Modi seems to be universally popular.

People say the government has not delivered on its promise of development. To attract votes, the BJP will have to convince them that work has been done on issues of unemployment, demonetization, GST and law and order.

In Nichali Oden village in Rajsamand district, villagers say Raje will not get votes. They still remember welfare work done by former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, who is popular in the region.

Pushkar Lal Dangi, 23 says he will vote for the Congress. “No work has happened in our village.”

Dangi, who studies at an ITI in Nathdwara, says, “Young people are in trouble as there are no jobs.”

Lakshmi Lal Luhar, who has an interior decoration shop in Nathdwara, says “The road passing the village was made just a day before so that the CM’s rath yatra could pass through. Is this development?”

Suresh Jalania, sarpanch of the Upali Oden gram panchayat in Rajsamand says, “Government schemes are reaching people but officials make them run around for paperwork. So they are troubled. Most votes are in the villagers and if they are unhappy, Raje will not get votes.”

The BJP also needs to replace several local leaders.

In Sagwara tehsil of Banswara district, a local BJP worker says there is anger against the local BJP leadership. “People are in favour of the BJP. If the party brings in new faces on several seats, it can win,” she says.

Home minister Gulab Chand Kataria agrees that there is anger against the local leadership and says this is the only negative factor against the BJP.

Raje says during the yatra, she is taking stock of the work done by the MLAs and MPs and they will be given tickets on the basis of the evaluation.

However, Sailesh Jani, a mechanic says that people are not in favour of Raje. “This is the first time she has come to Banswara in five years. She has come only for votes.”

BJP cannot run away from the fact that demonetisation and GST have impacted traders.

The marble business in Rajsamand is suffering. Ravi Sharma general secretary of the Gangsaw Association of Rajsamand says business has fallen by 50%. “Earlier, the production was 55-60 lakh tonnes per annum and the turnover was Rs500-600 crore.”

There has been speculation that Rajputs are angry with the BJP over gangster Anandpal Singh’s encounter, Padmavati and reservation but these factors don’t seem to have resonance with people in Mewar apart from Chittorgarh.

Pratap Singh Shaktawat a member of the Karni Sena, says Raje never stood by the Rajput community in the Padmavati and Anandpal Singh case. “People are angry. It will be difficult for Raje to win unless they put up a good candidate.”

The Congress, meanwhile, does not seem to be in a position to cash in on the discontent against the BJP. Despite Congress state president Sachin Pilot’s attempt to strengthen the booths through the ‘Mera Booth, Mera Gaurav’ programme, the party doesn’t seem to have much presence on the ground.

First Published: Aug 08, 2018 22:42 IST