A grand return to power for Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan
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Vasundhara Raje, who failed five years ago on account of infighting in BJP, reinvented herself and galvanised the cadre to spearhead her party's spectacular comeback to power in Rajasthan.
60-year-old Raje, who belongs to the royal Scindia family of Gwalior and married in Rajasthan, had even once threatened to quit the party. But then she managed to get the BJP high command fully behind her in her bid to oust the Congress
government headed by Ashok Gehlot.
The icing on the cake for her was the full-throated backing from Narendra Modi who extensively toured Rajasthan during the election campaign.
Her rise from a National Executive member of BJP to one of its most powerful leaders in Rajasthan can be attributed to her charismatic personality and strong will, which have helped her tide over political crises from within and outside in her 30-year-long political career.
While she is adored by her supporters for her plainspoken and outgoing manners, her detractors believe her inaccessibility and like-it-or-lump-it attitude was the reason behind BJP's debacle in 2008 assembly polls and the subsequent Lok Sabha elections.
Member of a Maratha royal family who married into a Jat family, she enjoys a connect with masses cutting across castes and communities that lends her the X-factor in a heterogeneous state like Rajasthan where acceptability of most politicians wilts outside a particular region or group.
Daughter of founding BJP leader Vijayraje Scindia and sister of deceased Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia, she has been elected to the state assembly thrice and five times to Lok Sabha.
After being appointed as BJP's National Executive member in 1984, she became vice-president of Yuva Morcha in Rajasthan a year later and was elected to state assembly the same year.
Since then Raje's rise has been steady which culminated in her becoming the state's first woman chief minister in 2003 when the "angrezi-speaking maharani", a phrase used by her critics to refer to her elitist and royal background, led BJP to its most famous victory in the predominantly rural state.