With assembly polls one year away in Rajasthan, the opposition Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has made an attempt to show a ‘united house’ by announcing that the saffron party shall observe the fourth anniversary of the Congress government on December 17 as ‘Black Day’.
The announcement comes as the ruling Congress faces a deep divide and has come out of a political crisis. However, the factionalism in Rajasthan BJP is no less than that of the Congress, as many are in the race to become the CM face of the saffron party for the next elections.
As per the statement issued by the state unit of the Bharatiya Janta Party, the party shall hold state-wide demonstrations in the 200 assembly constituencies and district headquarters starting from November 2023. The demonstrations shall be followed by a state-level protest and ‘Jan Aakrosh rally’ in December.
“In the months of November and December the party shall hold massive protests against the ruling Congress in the state and we shall highlight the failures of the government in its last four years”, BJP’s national general secretary and Rajasthan in-charge Arun Singh said in a statement. The party shall also issue a “black paper" against the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government.
The party’s announcement to hold the rally comes at a time when the former two-time chief minister Vasundhara Raje has become active on the ground, touring different districts and moreover meeting with her loyalist BJP leaders. In her public speeches, Raje also leaves no stone unturned to criticize the Gehlot government. In Churu, while addressing a public event she even reminded Gehlot that his government is left with only 350 days before the latter will be voted out of power in the 2023 polls.
Similarly in Bikaner, Raje took a jibe at the ongoing tussle between Gehlot and former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot. “In Congress, one leader says he will not leave the chair, while the other says, he will remove the chair. The problems in Congress need God’s mercy”, said Raje at an event in Bikaner.
The biggest challenge before BJP ahead of the polls is to maintain peace between all the warring factions. According to party insiders, the announcement of the yatra is also essential to cover up the rifts between the Raje loyalists and supporters of BJP president Satish Poonia which have exposed fault lines within the saffron party in the state in the last few years.
“The party has set a target of three lakh people for the ‘jan aakrosh rally’ to be held in December and for the same Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda and other leaders be invited”, a senior BJP leader told Outlook.
In the 2018 polls, while the Congress managed 100 seats in the 200-member Assembly, the BJP came second at 75 seats. Despite losing the state polls, after five months the saffron party secured all 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan in 2019.