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The people are bringing us back to power: Vasundhara Raje

November 29, 2013 16:35 IST

The people are bringing us back to power: Vasundhara Raje

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P B Chandra

After the Bharatiya Janata Party lost power in the 2008 elections and performed poorly in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Vasundhara Raje lost a lot of clout and became less and less visible.

Following this, the BJP, which was in opposition, was in total disarray, with the party changing two state units’ president.

Vasundhara herself chose to be in low profile and spent more time out of Jaipur.

The party was undecided whether to confer her the leadership as she was under scathing attack for full four years of the Congress rule in which Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot as a one-point programme crticised the BJP government blatantly, drubbing her as the most corrupt chief minister the state ever produced.

The BJP's high command deliberately kept her out of the state politics focus until eight months ago when she was holidaying in London and was summoned by the party and entrusted with the leadership of Rajasthan once again. The party, in its internal assessment, found that only she could provide the leadership and still commands the charisma.

She was made the BJP state president replacing Arun Chaturvedi in February, and since April 4 this year she has been plunged into the heat and dust of the campaign.

She chose her own favourite way of connecting and meeting with people and she set out on the Suraaj Sankalp Yatra.The yatra brought her close to the people; as a result, the bridges which were burnt were re-laid.

Now as the state in polling mode, P B Chandra spoke to the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP.

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Image: BJP's Rajasthan chief ministerial candidate Vasundhara Raje addresses a news conference in Jaipur
Photographs: Vinay Joshi/Reuters

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'The Gehlot government was focused in coming back to power'

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P B Chandra

What is the main plank you are using in this election against the Congress government?

With the Congress in rule, there is no problem in finding faults. The Congress with such a long experience of being in power still believes in divide and rule and looks only for vote-banks.

The Gehlot government was focused on just one thing and that was how to come back to power. The so-called flagship schemes which are dubbed socially relevant schemes for the poor, are not only poor in substance, but lack vision and quality.

Good schemes are not implemented the way it was done by the Congress government -- the benefits did not reach the poor and the needy.

But what is wrong in giving pension to the senior citizens, the destitute and the handicapped?

I never said it was wrong to give benefit to senior citizens. But what was the measures taken to see that the right person was getting pension. The state government officials were asked to identify the beneficiaries and they did the job benefitting some and missing a large number.

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Image: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot
Photographs: Photo courtesy: Ashok Gehlot's website
Tags: Congress

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'Implementation of the schemes was the problem'

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P B Chandra

What was your feedback during the Suraaj Sankalp Yatra? 

I said I wanted to go on the yatra as this was the best way to connect with the people.

You meet them at a time when the Gehlot government is blowing its own trumpet with their flagship schemes.

During the yatra, people came and told me that the said scheme was only announced on paper and the villagers are yet to get the real benefits.

It was the implementation that became the problem. The employees were loaded with several flagship schemes and there was little time for implementation.

Thus, with poor implementation backed by a poor and corrupt machinery caused a flop show.

When you described the free medicine scheme as free poison disbursed by the government, even the social activists took you to task for issuing such biased statement.

I will answer you. The scheme is very good and should be lauded, but if the poor are made to swallow outdated and poor quality medicines, are you curing them or killing them? I called such medicine poison as it was no less lethal!

Similarly, about the subsidised foodgrains -- the quality of the food-grain was poor and at times not fit for human consumption.

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Image: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at a function
Photographs: Photo courtesy: Ashok Gehlot's website

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'I was never out to any place for long'

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P B Chandra

You say that in the past six-eight months since you went on the yatra, the government started launching the schemes.

Gehlot felt that there was nobody watching the government. We were getting feedback of all the poorly-launched schemes and this was reviewed by us at the proper forum and then we came to know what went wrong.

We started telling people that nothing good has been done for them and they did not take long to understand that it was all election year sops.

Gehlot has been saying that in the past four-and-a-half years you were holidaying in London and Europe and when the election was round the corner you came to try and grab power.

I only marvel at his assessment. I was never out to any place for long. I am in public life and nobody can be out of focus for long. I don’t know how Gehlotji forgot that I was leader of the opposition and did my job.

When I was handed over the baton and became the party president, I started involving myself in organisational affairs. But I want to ask the Mukhyamantriji how many times he was present in the assembly when the Congress was not in power.

He was not even made the leader of his party and his attendance would show how many days he came to house and attended the sessions. The chief minister has all along been accusing me of being corrupt without proving a single charge.

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Image: BJP's Rajasthan chief ministerial candidate Vasundhara Raje addresses a rally
Photographs: Photo courtesy: Vasundhara Raje's website

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'Please do not underestimate Modiji'

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P B Chandra

You have been very active on the social media...

I realised long ago that it is a very powerful media and one of the most effective ways to speak to the people. Those who see you on social media pages are the people who want to know about you and speak to you and react. Interestingly, I have a long and effective following on social media.

Even your party people have been saying that you are lucky that at a right time you got a campaigner such as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Please do not underestimate Modiji. He is the party's prime ministerial candidate and is a much respected and honoured leader. He is surely an asset to the party in Rajasthan, but in other states also. People want to see and hear him as he is the future of this nation.

He belongs to the neighbouring state and understands the problems of Rajasthan and speaks about them. He is certainly an asset for our party for electoral success.

Buy there were also murmurs that he (Modi) did not want you to be with him during election campaign.

Where did you hear that?  I was with him in several election rallies. The party managers decided that it was not a bright idea that I should be tagged along with him. They felt that he and I should campaign separately, so that we could reach more people.

Modiji was confined to several places only. While for me, it was Suraaj Yatra measuring the length and breadth of the state. I had to cover all the 200 constituencies flying and driving. I also drew large crowds wherever I went and the response gave me enough confidence.

Are you coming to power?

Yes, the people are bringing us back to power. For them it’s going to be an end of misrule.

Do you think you will be able to form the government on your own? 

Surely we are getting the majority and there will not be any need for outside support. We are going to form a government that would be stable and accountable.


Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at a rally in Ajmer
Photographs: Photo courtesy: Vasundhara Raje's Facebook page

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