In the run-up to state assembly elections scheduled later this year, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has embarked on a 40-day Gaurav Yatra to strengthen her trust with the electorate. Her rally, which will cover 165 of the 200 assembly constituencies in the state, was flagged off in Rajsamanand district on Saturday by BJP president Amit Shah.
In an interview to Indian Express, Vasundhara Raje was asked about her top three poll issues, to which she said — education and women empowerment, health and self-employment. Highlighting that during the past five years, her policies have become more women-centric, she said, “Who could have imagined that a state which was 26th as far as education is concerned will be number two in the country four years later? It doesn’t take time to change. It just requires the willpower.”
When asked about Congress’s allegations on anti-incumbency and their counter campaign to ask 40 questions on each day of the yatra, she said the Congress had 40 years and they should have worked in the field then.
Raje, when asked if the BJP will change its strategy after their losses in the bypolls that were held earlier this year, she said the party is sticking to its original strategy – “concentrating on the lowest denominating factor, because that’s where it begins”.
On being asked if cow vigilantism in the state is going to be a poll issue for her, she said, “I don’t think we should get into that.” While she did not deny that it is a social issue, she lay more emphasis on creation of jobs and keeping people occupied. She did not comment on the issue of NRC in Assam.
When she was asked about how her schemes were different, she said, “We are not going to use the Congress as a benchmark for us.” She said the BJP government in Rajasthan has set targets which are being monitored regularly and more people are being made beneficiaries of the state government’s schemes.
Raje had taken out two similar yatras in 2003 and 2013. She told the paper that the Congress had made “zero progress” in the 40 years that they governed the state and that now she has no time to waste.
She also told the Hindustan Times that even though the yatra involves many risks, she is ready to take them in order to check the developments made on ground. She said while she was nervous, she piloted with a tour of 60 constituencies before the yatra so as to gauge the response; however after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jaipur where 3 lakh beneficiaries had turned up, she got a confidence boost.
On being asked about her differences with the BJP central leadership, Raje disposed it off as a “conjecture”. When asked about her PPP (public private partnership) model not being received well by the masses, she said it worked well in the health sector and that the government of Rajasthan is trying pilot projects on the same model.
In the 2013 elections, the BJP had won by a clear majority of 163 seats as against Congress’ 21 seats.