Royal Comeback: 5 years after losing power, Raje is set to return

RajeBJP leader Vasundhara Raje arrives at Sanganer airport, in Jaipur on Sunday. (IE photo: Ravi Kanojia)

Victory or loss, however it may have panned out in Rajasthan for the BJP, the onus lay solely on state party chief Vasundhara Raje, who right at the outset had maintained that she would take the battle forward in the Assembly elections only if she was given a free-hand. The BJP Sunday registered a thumping victory, grabbing 162 seats that left the Congress decimated at 21 seats and none other than Raje can claim full credit for the unprecedented victory.

Raje, who won by a margin of 60,896 votes in Jhalrapatan and is poised to take oath as the chief minister, gave the credit for the victory to BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

"The results are better than we expected. I did find a lot of frustration among the voters when I went out on the Suraaj Sankalp Yatra. A victory was expected but such figures have surprised us. We are grateful to the people of Rajasthan and promise to take the state to new heights," she said.

Raje, who became the first woman chief minister of the still largely feudal state of Rajasthan in 2003, lost power in 2008 for what was called her high-handedness and miscalculation in the ticket distribution.

The last five years can easily be called Raje's most difficult years in her 30-year career in active politics. Losing power in 2008 not only hit her confidence but made the Maratha royal introspect on several counts. Raje, who always kept the RSS lobby at an arm's distance, though did not succumb to its patriarchs but did soften her stand to appease one and all. As Raje has been admitting over the past few months, she has learnt to sober down, shed her prejudices and work as a team.

It is the same RSS that had sought her resignation from the position of Leader of Opposition in 2010 and then was forced to reinstate her yet again. However, Raje voluntarily gave up the slot to arch rival and critic Gulab Chand Kataria and instead sought overarching powers to lead the party in the assembly polls.

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