Opposition leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan, a state heading to the polls, appeared to be uniting their efforts in anticipation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Jaipur. Over the weekend, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje took part in two meetings, engaged in discussions with the BJP’s core committee, and met with Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who is seen as a rival. This display of unity came ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s rally and aimed to demonstrate solidarity within the opposition party in poll-bound Rajasthan.

Raje’s earlier absence from the BJP’s Parivartan Sankalp Yatras, which were organized to garner support for the upcoming elections, had raised speculation about potential discord within the party and uncertainties regarding Raje’s role. Nonetheless, BJP leaders have consistently emphasized that Raje remains a respected leader actively involved in all party activities.

In a social media post in Hindi prior to Modi’s rally, Raje encouraged people to join the event and wrote, “Come together, bring change.” She also mentioned that Modi would provide guidance to BJP workers.

While Raje was present at the flagging-off ceremonies of four Parivartan Sankalp Yatras, she did not actively participate in them, unlike in previous elections when she had been the prominent face of the BJP. In the run-up to the 2023 polls, the BJP has adopted a strategy of collective leadership rather than projecting a specific leader as the chief ministerial candidate. Nevertheless, Raje’s supporters have been advocating for her to be the face of the BJP.

Raje’s exclusion from the BJP’s Election Manifesto Committee and Election Management Committee had fueled speculation about internal differences. She had previously spent time in Delhi and reportedly met with party leaders to seek clarity about her role, but ambiguity remains.

In response to these developments, Raje organized a meeting with women from across the state at her residence to express gratitude to Modi for the passage of the women’s reservation bill. She reaffirmed her commitment to serving the women of Rajasthan and addressing their concerns.

During another meeting on Sunday, Raje highlighted the vulnerable position of women in Rajasthan, emphasizing that they faced daily atrocities without adequate redressal mechanisms. She called upon women to step forward and take matters into their own hands to effect change.

Later on Sunday, Shekhawat, who is considered a rival to Raje, met with her at her residence in Jaipur. It’s worth noting that Raje is believed to have thwarted an attempt to appoint Shekhawat as the state BJP president in 2018.

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