Raje’s yatra to skip Sheo, raising political hackles

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s 40-day Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra will give a miss to Sheo constituency in Jodhpur division. The “rath” is traversing the southern part of the state and will enter the Marwar region or the Jodhpur division on August 23. The CM is scheduled to hold a public meeting in Barmer on August 28 and will travel through six assembly constituencies of the district but will not visit Sheo, the seventh constituency.

Raje’s decision to leave out Sheo has raised political hackles with observers assigning it a reason: former BJP veteran Jaswant Singh’s son Manvendra Singh, who is the BJP MLA from Sheo, was upset with the CM during the 2014 Lok Sabha election when the party chose Col Sonaram Choudhary over Jaswant Singh as its candidate from Barmer-Jaisalmer Lok Sabha constituency.

The Rajasthan Gaurav Yatra will be in Barmer on August 28 and 29, during which Raje will hold programmes in Siwana, Gudamalani, Chohtan, Barmer, Baitu and Pachpadra assembly constituencies. In the official programme, the Barmer public meeting is for both Barmer and Sheo constituencies.

However, BJP district president Jalam Singh Rawlot sees nothing unusual in this. Rawlot, who was BJP MLA from here in 2003, says the CM was visiting only 165 constituencies out of 200. “It is not possible for her to visit all constituencies in such a short time,” he added.

Congress district vice-president Yagyadutt Joshi said Sheo didn’t figure in the yatra route because of differences between Sheo legislator and the chief minister. “Due to differences with Manvendra Singh, Raje has always neglected the constituency. During her tenure as chief minister for more than four years, she has never visited the constituency. This is an insult to the people of Sheo,” the Congress leader said.

Political observer Shankarlal Dhariwal says differences between Vasundhara Raje and Jaswant Singh’s family are no secret. “On many occasions, Singh’s supporters have raised slogans against Raje and protested against her. May be the party fears protest if the Yatra enters Sheo,” he said.

After the 2014 general elections, when Jaswant Singh was denied BJP ticket and fought as an Independent, losing to BJP candidate, Raje and Manvendra Singh have never shared dais, said political analyst Vijay Sharma.

“Even when the chief minister came to Barmer for three days in 2015, Manvendra Singh was absent from the events. If party MLA skips the public meeting in Sheo, it will be embarrassing for the CM so they have excluded Sheo from the yatra itinerary,” he added.

The move has drawn protest from the party also. BJP leader Ranjeet Choudhary said during the 2013 assembly elections, Raje started her campaign in Barmer district from Sheo constituency.

“People of Sheo voted for the BJP and have expectations from the CM. She should respect their sentiments. If Raje isn’t coming to Sheo, it will hurt the sentiments of the locals and also have negative impact in coming election,” he said.

Manvendra Singh refused to comment on the issue.

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 22:33 IST

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