Much to the chagrin of her detractors within Rajasthan BJP, ‘Maharani’ Vasundhara Raje returned to the state on Tuesday (February 23) after a gap of nearly three months, during which she stayed cocooned in Delhi.
Raje’s feud with state BJP head Satish Poonia is well known. Her influence in the state politics has been diminishing since her infamous spat with the then National BJP president, Amit Shah, on leading the party in Rajasthan during the 2019 general election.
On Tuesday, the former chief minister tweeted to thank all her supporters who gave her a warm welcome at different places during her journey from Delhi to Jaipur. It was looked upon as a show of strength for Raje, who had kept away from the party even during last year’s crucial floor test of Congress CM Ashok Gehlot, after Sachin Pilot raised the banner of protest. On Tuesday, Vasundhara Raje was seen waving to her supporters as she hopped from one place to another before reaching the state capital.
Raje, 67, was in Jaipur to attend party’s core committee meeting on Tuesday, called in view of the upcoming assembly elections in four states. She reached the meeting an hour late, as her convoy got delayed because of her interactions with supporters en route.
BJP national general secretary and Rajasthan in-charge Arun Singh, who has been camping in the state to find an amicable solution to the internal squabble, also attended the meeting. At the end of the meeting, Singh said all party leaders are happy with the leadership of Poonia.
The ‘maharani’, however, seems determined to make a strong comeback in Rajasthan before the 2023 state elections as she is believed to have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president JP Nadda in Delhi last week.
Raje might be away from the state, but her supporters have kept the pressure on the party, often seeking an active role for their leader in Rajasthan BJP. Poonia has been trying his best to diminish Raje’s stature as was evident when he denied any role to her supporters in the party organisation.
Last week, the fight within the BJP came out in the open when 20 MLAs, close to Raje, wrote a letter to Poonia, complaining that they do not get an opportunity to raise their concerns in the assembly. Singh, however, expressed ignorance about any such letter.
Singh said, “If anybody in the party has any problems, we are willing to talk to them one-on-one, but nobody should consider themselves above the party.”
On Tuesday, Raje appeared calmer as she spoke to her supporters on her way to Jaipur. “Time is one thing which constantly changes. There are ups and downs in life, if you go up, you will have to come down. One has to learn and keep walking,” she said, talking about the BJP being out of power in Rajasthan. It was interpreted by some as Raje’s veiled attack on Poonia and his supporters.
Interacting with the media on her way to Jaipur, Raje complained that several projects started during her time as CM, like the Bhamashah Yojana, had been stopped. “I have full trust that in the coming time, this entire family will fight such a battle that those who tried to bring anarth (disaster) upon us, who have worked against our party, against the public, we will uproot and remove them,” The Indian Express quoted Raje as saying.