Raje’s name as a BJP candidate from Sardarpura constituency has gained currency in party circles.
After discussion over names of candidates for 65 Assembly seats in Rajasthan, the BJP is believed to have asked former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia if she is game for taking on CM Ashok Gehlot on his home turf.
Raje’s name as a BJP candidate from Sardarpura constituency has gained currency in party circles even as the speculation has grown stronger over the plan to field half-a-dozen MPs and Union ministers, including Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, in the November-December Assembly elections.
If Raje opts not to fight against Gehlot, then the saffron party may consider fielding Jodhpur Lok Sabha MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat against the Congress heavyweight. “In that case, Shekhawat’s claim to become BJP’s CM face may get a boost,” said a party source.
In 2019 parliamentary elections, Shekhawat had trounced Gehlot’s son Vaibhav. The BJP think tank is believed to be working on a strategy to field its stalwarts against Congress star leaders so that the rivals are forced to pay more attention to their own constituencies, rather than going around campaigning for other candidates.
A list of about a dozen Congress leaders has been prepared by the BJP against whom the party wants to field tall leaders to make the contest as difficult as possible for the ruling party.
For instance, Congress stalwart C.P. Joshi may be challenged in his Nathdwara constituency by BJP’s MP from Rajsamand Diya Kumari, sources said. Even as the Election Commission is yet to announce the dates for electing a new 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the campaign has started gaining momentum with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing rallies and highlighting the issue of the high rate of crimes against women and children in Rajasthan. During a rally at Chittorgarh, the PM expressed deep regret over the five-year tenure of the Congress government in Rajasthan, citing a tarnished reputation for the state due to rising crimes, anarchy, riots, stone pelting, and atrocities against women, Dalits, and backward classes.
Hitting out at the Ashok Gehlot government over corruption, Modi said, “I want to provide an assurance. Those who have engaged in corruption and embezzled funds meant for the poor will face consequences… The accused in the paper leak racket will be held accountable. I guarantee you that the paper leaks mafia will face severe punishment, and they will not escape justice.”
Talking about women’s security and work opportunities for women, PM Modi said, “My mothers, sisters and daughters also know that Modi is fulfilling every guarantee given to them. In the last 9 years, it is the BJP government that has opened the doors of military schools and deployment in the front lines of the army for daughters.”
Earlier, BJP National President J.P. Nadda had hit out at the Congress government in the desert state over the issue of women’s safety. “Every single day, there is an instance of harassment against women. The people of Rajasthan will teach the state government a lesson,” he said. “In the last 54 months, 10 lakh cases of crimes against women have been registered. On an average, 19 such cases are coming to light daily across the state,” he said at an election rally.