DNA 2nd Thought: Will Yatra help Rajasthan BJP cross the finish line?

In the October of 2003, Chandraraj Singhvi, a wily sidekick of Vasundhara Raje, who has fallen out of favour hence, shot to glory by predicting 120 seats for BJP in a match that pitted Raje against the ‘Gandhian Gehlot’, who was then the chief minister of Rajasthan. BJP won 120 seats. Fresh from her Parivartan Yatra, Raje donned the role of chief minister. But the one thing that stuck in the minds of the party workers and leaders alike was the silver tongue Singhvi’s definitive numbers.  

Come 2018, Raje is hitting the streets again. Her Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra starts from the Charbhuja Temple with more than just the promise of bringing the government to the people. Raje’s political career, and not just the government, rides on this rath that has become a metaphor for that power-up that gives them that extra mile to reach the finish line. 

BJP president Madan Lal Saini’s high-decibel pitch for 180-plus seats may be enough to enthuse the workers and get a few claps from the leaders in attendance, but even they in their wildest dream wouldn’t attribute the figure to the workings of a sane mind. This is because, the ground report of party and RSS workers tell a different story. The party assimilation of the reports from different quarters projects a tally of around 108 seats in the upcoming polls.

This is their best shot following a tumultuous organisational rejig that ensued after the bitter dispute over the selection of former state BJP president Ashok Parnami’s successor. 

In such a scenario, where the party’s fortunes are on the edge, and the chief minister’s career hangs by a thread, this yatra assumes the role of a catalyst that cannot only get the electorate to rally behind Raje, but also get the satta (government) and sangathan (party) on the same footing. In the elections of 2008, BJP despite being in a strong position was left high and dry after fallout between Raje and her equal in the party, Om Prakash Mathur, who helmed the state unit, then. The twain never met for them and the party was brought down from its high horse of 120 to a humbling 78. 

Like Singhvi, this time, there is not a soothsayer who is predicting a definitive number for the BJP. The party has a brute strength of 160 seats in the state legislative assembly as of now. It had 163/200 when it started out. 23 out of 25 parliamentary seats are tucked away under its belt. 

The yatra is the last booster shot, which Raje is hoping to take the numbers well past the simple majority. Her previous two yatras have worked in her favour. Will she be third time lucky, again?

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Sat, 4 Aug 2018-06:15am
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Saturday, 4 August 2018 – 6:15am
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Vasundhara Raje
Vasundhara Raje
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from Daily News & Analysis http://bit.ly/2OJG4Qm

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