Raje visits Jaswant Singh's village

Raje visits Jaswant Singh's village

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje speaks during the 'Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra' at Keshoraipatan, near Kota. PTI file photo

Even as the ruling BJP and the Congress are busy finalising candidates before distributing tickets for the upcoming Assembly polls, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje visited the village of former foreign affairs minister Jaswant Singh.

Her visit comes four days after Manvendra Singh, son of Jaswant Singh and a sitting MLA from the Sheo constituency, joined the Congress.

Owing to her strained relationship with Jaswant Singh's family, Raje had earlier skipped Sheo during her 40-day Gaurav Yatra, her election campaign.

Raje visited Mata Bhatiyani Temple in Jasol in the Barmer desert.

Jasol is Singh's stronghold, where recently he had held Swabhiman rally in Pachpadra village. At the rally, he quit the BJP saying, "Kamal ka phool, sabse badi bhool" (Lotus, biggest mistake).

Manvendra showcased his considerable influence in the belt after lakhs of people turned up for his rally, which he claimed were from 36 communities. 

Important move

According to a party insider, the visit to Jaswant Singh's hometown gains significance in the wake of Manvendra joining the Congress. 

"Raje had to visit (Jasol) to give an impression to the people of that belt that the BJP was with them. Which is why she met the families of priests also", a senior BJP leader told DH.

Apart from paying respect at the temple, she also visited the families of Rajpurohits (priests of royal families). There is a sizable population of Rajpurohit voters in western Rajasthan — around 80,000.

Raje's visit to Manvendra's village is seen as a major political move in the political circles of the state as the latter is believed to contest the Barmer-Jaisalmer parliamentary seat in 2019 for the Congress. His wife Chitra, too, is seeking an Assembly ticket.

With elections a few weeks away, Manvendra Singh's exit from the BJP and his entry into the Congress will have a substantial impact on the upcoming Assembly polls in Rajasthan.

Marwar, often known as the Rajput belt of Rajasthan, will now give its support to Singh as the community has been upset with the ruling party in the recent past.

The Singh family’s ties with the saffron party and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje became sour after Jaswant Singh was denied a party ticket by the BJP for the 2014 elections from his hometown Barmer. Jaswant Singh contested as an independent candidate against the party’s official candidate, and lost.

In the same year, Manvendra was also suspended by the party for campaigning for his father. Manvendra had earlier skipped Raje's Gaurav Yatra in Barmer and Pachpadra.

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