It’s make or break for Vasundhara Raje

After the elevation of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, she was given command of Rajasthan state. In 2003, she led the party to victory, and that was the first time that the BJP managed to get a clear majority, winning 120 seats in a House of 200.

Raje then led the party to a historic victory again in 2013, with the BJP bagging 156 seats.

However, 2018 saw her party restricted to 73 seats only. Prior to the election, a strong campaign of corruption charges was trained on Vasundhara Raje by Ashok Gehlot and C.P. Joshi. It put Raje on the backfoot, and the party leadership too felt that she could know longer be trusted with spearheading the BJP’s state unit, with her popularity unseated.

Interestingly, though, her accuser Ashok Gehlot would later go on to express his gratitude when, with his government facing a crisis of support itself, Vasundhara Raje took a stand saying that the BJP would not move to destabilise or topple his democratically elected government.

The friendly compliment from Gehlot may have further sealed Raje’s fate with the BJP’s senior leadership, however. Did Gehlot then knowingly sow a seed of her further downfall? Or had he come round to seeing her as a better ally than an enemy? Had he found reason to change his mind about the charges levelled?

Regardless, Raje and Gehlot’s apparent camaraderie was (unsurprisingly) not welcomed by senior BJP leaders, who thought it showed the BJP in the poorer light, despite her noble gesture.

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