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Vasundhara Raje: Where are the big guns of the Congress hiding?

December 09, 2013 17:41 IST

'In 17 districts, the Congress could not open its account. How is that a government that did so much for the people saw 18 of its ministers losing?' asks Vasundhara Raje who led the BJP to a historic victory in the Rajasthan election. P B Chandra reports.

There is a lotus pond in the state secretariat in Jaipur. This pond was part of a Rs 66 crore (Rs 660 million) makeover that the secretariat got when Vasundhara Raje first came to power in 2003.

Aptly, the lotuses in the pond were in full bloom as the results of the Bharatiya Janata Party's landslide victory began pouring in on Sunday, December 8.

An extremely religious person, Vasundhara Raje visit temples and religious places at every opportunity. On counting day, she flew to Banswara in southern Rajasthan to worship at the Tripura Sundari temple and prayed for two hours.

She now plans to visit Datia in Madhya Pradesh to offer prayers at the Peetambar Peeth temple. The temple priest is her spiritual guru.

In the 2008 assembly election she fumbled by choosing the wrong candidates.

Then she was troubled by the Meena community and BJP rebel Dr Kirori Lal Meena who caused the defeat of the party in about 15 seats.

The BJP finished with 79 seats in 2008 while the Congress, which mustered 98 seats, formed the government with the help of Independent MLAs.

For almost four years, she had to face the wrath of the BJP's central leadership, which refused to give her any leadership role. She was left to fend for herself and spent most of her time in New Delhi and London, where she has a home.

With the assembly election approaching, the BJP top brass discovered there was no one but Vasundhara Raje who could provide the party leadership in the state.

She was asked to lead the election campaign and she helped the party to a massive mandate.

"I can only say that the people have given their love and affection to the BJP. This massive victory was not foreseen by anybody. We should thank the Almighty and the people for this historic victory."

"More than me, (senior BJP leader) Arun Jaitley was hopeful of the landslide. It is a victory of women power."

'During the campaign, our candidates were boasting they would win by 20,000 vote margins and 124 of the 162 winners won by this margin!' she told the media after the results.

"There were eight candidates including me who polled more than one lakh (100,000) votes. In 17 districts, the Congress could not open its account."

"How is that a government that did so much for the people saw 18 of its ministers losing? What happened to the so-called big guns of the Congress, where are they hiding now?" she asked.

"The support to the BJP was overwhelming -- business people, students, women, Dalits, backward castes, minorities and tribals -- all voted for the BJP. We will not rest on our laurels. We need to strengthen the hands of Narendra Modi and make sure that he leads the country as prime minister in May."

P B Chandra in Jaipur