BJP asks Vasundhara Raje supporters not to skip Assembly for her temple tour

The BJP in Rajasthan called up MLAs considered close to Vasundhara Raje to ensure their presence at Monday’s assembly proceedings, party sources said amid concerns that they could instead opt for events connected with the former chief minister’s “temple yatra”.

Raje herself rejected suggestions that her two-day visit to temples in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur and adjoining areas in Uttar Pradesh had anything to do with politics.

“Some people are seeing this event as a show of strength. Perhaps they do not know that it is not a show of strength but a show of devotion,” she told supporters at Adi Badrinath temple in Bharatpur on Monday, the second day of her temple tour.

On Sunday, some Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs received calls from the office of Leader of the Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria to attend Monday’s session, party sources said.

The calls were apparently meant to ensure that their absence does not encourage speculation of a rift in the party’s Rajasthan unit.

In a hint of differences within the BJP, about 20 MLAs wrote to the state unit president Govind Singh Dotasra last month, claiming that their legislature party leaders were not allocating time for them to raise issues in the assembly.

Party leaders said some current and former MLAs and MPs were seen at Raje”s event in Bharatpur on Sunday, triggering the phone calls from the Leader of Opposition’s office.

However, no whip demanding their presence was issued to party MLAs.

Addressing supporters during her temple visit, Raje said there was no politics in the event but it was about religion.

Her policy is development of all communities, she said using the phrase “chhattis quom”, literally meaning 36 castes or communities.

“I will keep working for all communities as long as I am alive,” she said.

The BJP leader said her mother had taught her to follow ”dharam niti” (path of religion) and taking inspiration from her she has made efforts to make Rajasthan a religious state.

She said people who do politics are in power. “They are not the people who walk the path of religion. They do politics in development and so development of Rajasthan has stopped,” the opposition leader said, according to a press release.

Invoking former prime minister and BJP leader Atal Bihar Vajpayee, Raje said, “You need not worry. Atal ji had said darkness will fade and the lotus will bloom.

“We will once again let the lotus bloom in Rajasthan,” she said, referring to the party’s election symbol.

She also highlighted various development projects undertaken when she was the Rajasthan chief minister.

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