BJP president Amit Shah and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje at the closing ceremony of state working committee meeting in Jaipur.(Himanshu Vyas/HT PHOTO)
BJP president Amit Shah and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje at the closing ceremony of state working committee meeting in Jaipur.(Himanshu Vyas/HT PHOTO)

Amit Shah endorsement cheers up Vasundhara Raje camp, all eyes on Suraj Yatra

Shah says assembly polls will be conducted under Raje’s leadership and she will become the chief minister.
Hindustan Times, Jaipur | By Manoj Ahuja
UPDATED ON JUL 22, 2018 11:43 PM IST

With the perception that chief minister Vasundhara Raje does not enjoy cordial relations with Amit Shah, the BJP president’s endorsement has cleared doubts about projecting her as the chief ministerial candidate in the assembly elections due by the year-end.

“The assembly election will be contested under her leadership and she will again become the chief minister with a thumping majority,” Shah said on Saturday at the BJP’s state working committee meeting.

But if the rout in the by-elections held in January is any indication, the jury is still out on whether it will help the BJP win the elections in the face of anti-incumbency.

BJP leaders close to the chief minister are happy that Shah praised her work and endorsed her candidature.

“Amit Shah Ji’s visit has charged up the party workers and they are full of energy. We are confident that under the leadership of chief minister Vasundhara Raje, BJP will win the next assembly elections with a huge majority,” former state BJP president Ashok Parnami said.

While Shah was all praise for Raje, he did express his unhappiness that the state unit of the party had not followed his instructions about training and equipping party vistaraks (full-time workers). Shah left the meeting with vistaraks midway after telling a senior leader that most of his instructions had not been followed.

“It’s an indication that a lot needs to be done to strengthen the organisation at the booth level. The anti-incumbency is a factor and we hope that CM’s Suraj Yatra and her Jan Samvad (public dialogue) events will help us overcome it,” a BJP leader said.

Senior politician Ghanshyam Tiwari, who recently quit the BJP over differences with functioning of Raje, said Raje had forced the party leadership to declare her the CM candidate and Shah’s announcement will hardly make any difference to the ground reality.

“Amit Shah does not have the power to make or remove any chief minister. It is the 7-crore people of Rajasthan who will decide who their next chief minister is going to be. Under Shah and Raje, the BJP in Rajasthan will suffer one of its worst defeats,” he said.

Political analyst Rajiv Gupta said anti-incumbency will be a major factor in the elections and the rout in the by-elections was an indication of the things to come.

Sources said infighting in the Rajasthan BJP is an issue that Shah has left to other leaders to sort out. “Shah said that he did not want to hear about any complaints from the party leaders and they should approach the state party leadership or contact BJP general secretary Rampal if they had any issues,” a party leader said. “The message is that with four months to go before elections, we have to get our act together.”

For now, the BJP is looking to further strengthen the party at booth level and is pinning its hopes on Raje’s Suraj Gaurav Yatra to overcome the anti-incumbency.

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