Clarion call for development agenda, focus on rural sector and social schemes and increased efforts of direct interaction with public, these are few steps second term Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has took in recent time. She has already declared her intention of fighting next assembly election slated in December 2018 in Udaipur unusual for a regime which has just crossed half way mark of the term. Why Vasundhara Raje seems to be in hurry to go out of office?
Making right noises in politics is a sure win strategy. But problem with Vasundhara Raje is that she is roaring in sound-proof rooms of her 13, civil lines bungalow now renamed as ‘Ananta-Vijaya’. This is first time in Rajasthan and perhaps in India, that a government allotted house has been named by occupant probably with intention of keeping the bungalow for life. But that is a minor issue Rajasthan is facing today as Supreme Court (SC) in case of Uttar Pradesh has already said that former CMs are not entitled to government accommodation for life. Her bête noire Ashok Gehlot was agile enough to raise question after SC order on the status of such allotment Rajasthan and target was clearly – Raje.
But big question is that will Ananta-Vijaya will remain CM House or it will become a residence of a former CM.
Congressmen seem to be excited and confident on the second option but reality may prove to be quite opposite to their perception. Reason being that Vasundhara Raje over the years has become a master strategist in Rajasthan politics. She is playing her cards well since beginning of her second regime though media expose like ‘Lalitgate’ has hit her hard. She has been surviving on TINA factor as cordiality with central leadership changes on case to case basis. Raje is not used to such arm twisting.
In her own ivory tower, she is making rhetoric about development of Rajasthan. Farming sector is the current focus of her government as her efforts to attract investment through Resurgent Rajasthan did not yielded much result. But problem with Raje is that wily foxes in bureaucracy have already sensed her limitations and double crossing at will. But the queen faces are dilemma of ‘hobson’s choice’.
Rajiv Maharishi is biggest example, who was running the show for Raje and on one fine day he was appointed Home Secretary of India. Interestingly, Narendra Modi deputed him to Home Ministry headed by Rajnath Singh, who is known for his big ambitions at central level. The knight of Raje changed sides overnight or he was sailing in two boats – “running with Raje and Hunting with Modi”.
Rajasthan Cadre of IAS does not provide a pool of talent which Raje could have used and continued to depend on Maharishi even today. The rift between Bihari lobby and officers now treated as others is also hurting Raje directly though mediocre around her are trying hard to keep useful ground reports and information in order to save their own skin. With her close advisors Arijit Banerjee busy in ‘birding’ activities and media advisor concentrating on commission based support of sundry news papers, Raje is proving to be just another politician on her way out.
In the scheme of Vasundhara Raje, currently, politicians do not have a place. She is depending on mediocre like Yunus Khan and Prabhu Lal Saini, who even not in position to guarantee win in their assembly constituency while message from Rajendra Rathore to his supporters- ‘of being out of favor’ is also causing irreversible damage. Ashok Parnami, who is practically running UDH ministry, trying to prove himself a war-horse but ending up eating more green fodder of Vitamin-M than achieving target.
Raje is facing a deep crisis of finding new talent which knows Rajasthan and prove to be war-horses. Without such rooted war horses in her cavlary, even an opponent like Ashok Gehlot –a shrewd politician with limited talent and capabilities is proving to be formidable foe.