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Raje’s ‘Yatra’ Is Unlikely To Make BJP Race-Ready For Rajasthan 

Vasundhara Raje’s ‘Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra’ spells trouble for the BJP as it has aggravated infighting in the party.

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is on a 40-day-long ‘Gauarv Yatra’ aimed at wooing the voters as the state goes to the polls in November/December this year.

The yatra flagged off by Amit Shah on August 4 from Charbhuja Temple in Rajsamand district will cover at least 165 constituencies across the state before finally concluding on September 30 in Pushkar near Ajmer. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address a rally there.

The first leg of the yatra concluded on August 10 covering around 23 constituencies in Udaipur division. The second phase of the yatra, which was to start from August 16 in Bharatpur division, has been postponed due to the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

According to a BJP spokesperson, the response to Raje’s yatra has been exceptionally good as large crowds are welcoming the Chief Minister wherever she is going.

However, people’s connect with the yatra needs to be examined. Frankly, though the yatra is attracting crowd, the emotional connect and enthusiasm is completely missing.

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Yatra May Not Fetch Votes

Let us compare this yatra with the ‘Sandesh Yatra’ of Ashok Gehlot, which he launched few months before the last assembly elections in Rajasthan in 2013. Wherever he went, there were thousands of people waiting to see him. However, the Congress was able to win only 21 of the 200 assembly seats in 2013. This was one of the worst defeats the Congress faced in the state, in spite of the fact that Gehlot had launched a number of welfare schemes. He was considered a leader of the masses but neither he nor his yatra could save the Congress.

Large crowds at rallies and yatras, therefore, can never be an indication of a positive electoral outcome. How much of this crowd attracted by the Chief Minister’s yatra will actually translate into votes is yet to be seen.

More Trouble for BJP

Moreover, this yatra has become problematic for the BJP, as it has aggravated infighting in the party. The ticket seekers, in a bid to show of strength in front of the chief minister, have started to fight and oppose one another openly.

One also cannot deny that the BJP government in the state faces anti-incumbency in a big way. To counter this, Raje will have to go all out to woo the voters. There is anger against the functioning style of Raje, which by many is considered autocratic. Her arrogance is cited as the reason for a senior leader like Ghanshyam Tiwari leaving the party in June this year.

In her over four-and-a-half-year long tenure before this yatra, Raje had avoided much of interaction with party workers and the common man. She had not addressed a single press conference before the launch of the yatra. The government seemed to be run by the bureaucrats. Most of her Cabinet colleagues, with some exceptions, used to say that they did not have powers only CM could take decisions, hinting towards centralization of all powers in her own hand.

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Congress Gaining Ground

To make things even more difficult for the ruling party in the state, Sachin Pilot, who is young and charismatic, has been working tirelessly on ground. Ever since he became the Congress state president in Rajasthan, Pilot has been able to revive the party to a great extent by winning four of the six assembly seats and both Lok Sabha seats in the recent by-polls. It is his hard work and continuous travelling across Rajasthan that has led Congress to match the 2013 vote share of the BJP of around 45 percent.

Pilot and Gehlot, have also proved their mettle by organizing road show of the Congress president Rahul Gandhi, which is being considered as one of the best road shows Jaipur has witnessed so far. Jaipur is considered to be a BJP stronghold where its MP won by over 5 lakh votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

(The writer is a Jaipur-based senior journalist and political analyst. He can be reached @anilsharma45. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same)

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