Thursday, 30 June, 2022
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Vasundhara Raje’s ‘silence’ can be heard in Rajasthan, BJP ex-CM yet to speak on Sachin Pilot

Vasundhara Raje has not publicly aired her views on the current turmoil dogging Congress in Rajasthan, either personally or through her social media posts.

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New Delhi: A host of Rajasthan BJP leaders have been issuing statements welcoming Sachin Pilot, the Congress leader sacked as Rajasthan deputy chief minister and as state unit president Tuesday, to join the party.

Those voicing sympathy for Pilot include BJP vice-president Om Prakash Mathur, Rajasthan unit president Satish Poonia, Union minister Gajendra Shekhawat and former law minister P.P. Choudhary.

But one BJP leader has been conspicuous by her silence — two-time chief minister Vasundhara Raje.

Raje has not only not publicly aired her views on the current turmoil dogging the Congress government in the state, but she has also not made any mention of it in any of her social media posts.

In the last 24 hours, Raje’s Twitter handle has paid homage to cows, remembered social reformer Gopal Ganesh Agarkar on his birth anniversary, and former RSS chief Rajju Bhaiyya on his death anniversary and even wished the people of Tripura on the occasion of Ker Puja.

There has been no post on the crisis in the Congress or about the growing chorus in the BJP calling for a floor test in the state.

Also read: Covid delayed Sachin Pilot’s revolt, he had planned exit in March, Congress insiders claim

Reflective of Raje’s ties with party high command

Raje’s silence, sources in the Rajasthan BJP told ThePrint, is reflective of her relationship with the party high command.

“The party high command has not kept Vasundhara in the loop on this episode. That is the reason she is absent from the scene,” a Rajasthan BJP leader said.

“She is not on good terms with the central leadership but she has considerable influence among party MLAs. Without taking her into confidence, it is not possible to change equations in Rajasthan,” the leader added. “Even if you somehow get the Gehlot government to fall, her support will be crucial if bypolls are held for seats. None in the BJP had the statewide appeal that she has to win elections.”

Raje has also been keeping out of party activities for a while now. She was last seen on 27 June when Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari held a virtual Jan Samvad rally in the state.

Last week, she skipped the virtual meeting that BJP president J.P. Nadda held with the party’s Rajasthan leadership. Her son Dushyant Singh, the Jhalawar-Baran MP, however, attended the meeting.

Sources said Raje is usually at her Dholpur residence when she is not actively involved in politics.

Another BJP leader said both Raje and Gehlot never attack each other publicly. “Gehlot usually doesn’t attack Raje but always takes on Amit Shah and Modi,” said the leader. “The chief minister recently even appointed an officer close to her in his administration. Both understand each others’ political compulsion.”

Also read: CM Gehlot lists 5 reasons why Congress took the ‘sad’ decision on Sachin Pilot

Raje’s soured ties with Delhi leadership

Raje’s ties with the BJP high command have been soured since she began her last term as chief minister in 2013. When the BJP rose to power at the Centre in 2014, she wanted a portfolio for her son but that was vetoed by then BJP president Amit Shah.

While she had a working relationship with Prime Minister Narednra Modi, Raje has never been on the best of terms with Shah.

During her tenure in the state, she never kept Shah in the loop. Their relationship further deteriorated in 2018 when Shah wanted Gajendra Shekhawat as the state BJP president ahead of the assembly elections.

Raje wasn’t keen on having Shekhawat and, the BJP, after a three-month stalemate, eventually settled for Madan Lal Saini, considered ‘lightweight’ in comparison to the former.

A second senior BJP leader said Raje isn’t as enthusiastic about toppling the Gehlot government as the party high command is.

“She is not on the same page on Pilot hobnobbing with the BJP,” the leader said. “That is the reason why the party high command is in a Catch-22 situation in Rajasthan despite deploying resources.”

Also read: Sachin Pilot’s anger is misplaced. Ashok Gehlot isn’t the enemy, Congress culture is


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