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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Vasundhara Raje, Gajendra Singh Shekhwat put up united show in Jodhpur

Raje and Shekhawat’s political rivalry is not hidden from anyone. When the BJP high command had wanted to make Shekhawat the state party president last year, Raje had strongly objected and scuttled his appointment.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 27, 2019 19:49 IST
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Vasundhara Raje,Gajendra Singh Shekhwat,Amit Shah’s roadshow
Lok Sabha Congress candidate Vaibhav Gehlot and BJP candidate Gajendra Singh Shekhawat greet each other in Jodhpur.(HT File Phot/Ranjeet Singh Sodha)

As BJP national president Amit Shah’s roadshow passed through the streets of Jodhpur on Friday, the presence of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje with BJP MP candidate Gajendra Singh Shekhwat was aimed at sending out a message that the party stands united.

The one-km-long roadshow in favour of Shekhwat was BJP’S show of strength as well as a tactical manoeuvre on the Jodhpur seat that goes to the polls on April 29. The seat is witnessing a high-voltage contest between Shekhawat and chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s son, Vaibhav.

That the seat is a fight for prestige is evident from the fact that both the BJP and Congress are going all out to ensure a win for their respective candidates.

The BJP roped in prime minister Narendra Modi for a public meeting in Jodhpur on Monday and on Friday, Shah along with the BJP leadership came out in support of Shekhawat at the roadshow that saw a leave turnout with chants of ‘Modi, Modi’.

Meanwhile, Gehlot has taken reins of Vaibhav’s campaign in his hands. He is approaching various caste leaders to secure the social engineering, talking to sarpanches, sending out personalized messages and voice calls to voters asking them to vote for Vaibhav.

On Friday, he campaigned in 55 of 65 wards in the city in favour of Vaibhav while Vaibhav’s wife, mother and sister too campaigned in different areas of the constituency.

So while Shekhawat is up against the entire Congress and state machinery, the BJP wanted to put to rest speculation of any infighting and brought Raje and other local BJP leaders on the same stage.

Also read: ‘In a direct contest, Congress can defeat BJP,’ says Sachin Pilot

Raje and Shekhawat’s political rivalry is not hidden from anyone. When the BJP high command had wanted to make Shekhawat the state party president last year, Raje had strongly objected and scuttled his appointment.

A BJP leader said that some leaders who are seen to be close to Raje, could damage Shekhawat.

“After the assembly elections, these leaders had alleged that Shekhawat did not help them in the polls which had led to their defeat. They are upset with him and were not involved in the campaign,” the leader said.

But another BJP leader said that the party high command was aware of the situation and damage control was done. He said Rajasthan election incharge Prakash Javadekar had discussed the issue with Raje who assured that things would be set right and also agreed to be part of the roadshow. She is said to have spoken to all the MLAS who also turned out at the roadshow.

Political analyst Kamal Shrivastav said, “Why would Raje endanger her political future by playing spoilsport on the Jodhpur seat? Things would not be hidden from the party leadership and it would not bode well for Raje,” he said.

He said the election was evenly poised and would depend on whether the Modi factor would prevail over caste, community and caste management.

First Published: Apr 27, 2019 19:46 IST

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