To make things difficult, her attempts at social engineering seems to be having no impact.
Jaipur: Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje loves political yatra, especially around Assembly elections. On Friday, she will once again hit the road taking her “Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra” to each of the 200 Assembly constituencies over next 40 days.
BJP president Amit Shah will flag off the yatra from Charbhuja temple, the same place from where she started “parivartan yatra” in 2003 and “Suraj Sankalp Yatra” in 2013. On both occasions, the CM reaped huge dividends. It was a historic win in 2003. The BJP got 120 seats and for the first time it formed a majority government on its own. A decade later, Modi wave propelled it to record 164 seats in the house of 200.
Thus, the temptation to begin from the same auspicious place is understandable. Will she be third time lucky?
That will become clear in the first week of December but notwithstanding the BJP’s ability to create euphoria. Time it is going to be a bumpy ride. And, it is not difficult to understand, why. On the previous two occasions, the CM was riding anti-incumbency wave against the Congress. For the first time, she is in power and, hence, on the receiving end, literally.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public meeting in Jhunjhunu in March, she was shown black flags, constantly heckled during her speech and there were slogans like “Modi tujhse bair nahi, Vasundhara teri khair nahi” (Modi we have nothing against you but Vasundhara will not be spared). and Vasundhara tere chakkar ma, Modi mara jayega” (Vasundhara you will take Modi down with you).
Promise of “Suraj” made five years ago has come back to haunt her. Youth are waiting for 15 lakhs jobs. “We are enrolling one lakh unemployed youngsters who will work for BJP mukt Rajasthan,” said Rajasthan Berozgar Ekikrat Mahasangh’s president Upen Yadav.
Farmers are fuming over not fulfilling promise of social security while the much hyped farm loan waiver came too late and too little for the comfort. Withdrawal of food security from more than a crore people and denying pension to 10 lakh elderly and widows have only aggravated rural distress.
Government employees are miffed by lackluster 7th pay commission in addition to salary and pension arrears due now for months. They are also apprehensive of her government’s attempts of privatisation in many sectors.
Rajasthan ranks third in the country in crime against woman, dalits and minorities. On top of that, there is perception of inaccessibility and arrogance. After latest mob lynching incident, the chief minister said in an interview that hate crime happens everywhere in the world. In the same interview, she blamed unemployment behind the anger but in the past she used to claim that her government had provided 15 lakh jobs as promised.
People wondered if these were the reasons for change behind name of her yatra from “Suraj Gaurav Yatra” to Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra”. Even that was questioned by State Congress president Sachin Pilot. “People want to know how and when the state’s ‘gaurav’ or pride grew under the BJP rule,” he asked.
To make things difficult, her attempts at social engineering seems to be having no impact. Her USP of Kshtriya ki beti, Jat ki bahu and Gurjar k samdhan has gone awry.
The upper castes are unhappy; Rajputs and Brahmins because of perceived humiliation of their leaders while business community is licking wounds of demonetisation and GST.
But, the biggest worry should be dalits as the BJP won all reserved seats in previous assembly and Lok Sabha elections. State oppression after Bharat Bandh of April has turned dalits against the BJP. Jignesh Mewani has been frequently touring the state and Raje government’s attempts of preventing him from holding rallies is only adding to their anger.
Little wonder that Narendra Mod has been roped in as show stopper in the final rally in Pushkar next month. But, public reaction s not favourable as far as Vasundhara is concerned as Sumer Singh, a Rajput from Shekhawati said, “Yahan toh BJP haregi. People are not going to vote for Maharani but in Lok Sabha we will vote for Modi.”