Chief Minister of Rajasthan - the Race and the Contenders

Chief Minister of Rajasthan - the Race and the Contenders

All you need to know about the candidates who are being considered for the top post in Rajasthan

The Chief Minister of Rajasthan Announced, WHo is the CHief Minister of Rajasthan, Rajasthan Chief Minister Announced

Vasundhara Raje, Ashwani Vaishnav, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Gajendra Singh Shaktawat, Diya Kumari, Baba Balaknath, 

Continuing the trend in Rajasthan, the Bhartiya Janta Party orchestrated the electoral exit of the Congress party from the top post in Rajasthan. Ashok Gehlot and his team could not address the needs of the Voters and BJP has captured the desert once again. While the BJP had not contested the election with a Chief Ministerial candidate, the race to appoint one is now taking shape after the victory, along with the same responsibility in Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh. The BJP has appointed Rajnath Singh, BJP Vice President Saroj Pandey and General Secretary Vinod Tawde as Observers for Rajasthan, amidst the ongoing buzz on the appointment of Chief Ministers for the three states. Lets take a look at the candidates who are being presented as the probable names for BJP Chief Minister from Rajasthan.

Vasundhara Raje

She needs no introduction and seems to be the favorite to take up the mantle of Chief Minister of Rajasthan for the third time now. Vasundhara Raje was Chief Minister of Rajasthan from 2003-2008 and from 2013-2018. A 2023-2028 tenure could be in the offing if the BJP opts for experience and acceptability within its ranks and among voters in general. Even those who are ardent supporters of the Congress or other parties, will be happy to see someone as articulate and robust as Vasundhara Raje take up the top post once again. Her Resurgent Rajasthan campaign had put the desert state on the world map. 2023 marks her 40th year in Indian Politics. In the recently concluded State Assembly Elections, Vasundhara defeated her nearest rival Ramlal by a healthy margin of 53 thousand votes.

She hails from the Rajpariwar of Gwalior and her mother Vijayraje Scindia was among the founding member of the Bhartiya Jan Sangh. Vasundhara, who commands a cult following in Rajasthan was the first woman Chief Minister of this desert state and was also a Union Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government at the Centre. She is also one of the national Vice Presidents of the BJP since January 2019 and while being the member of the Scindia family, is also a matriarch of the Bamraulia Family of Dholpur. She has been the recipient of the Women Together Award from the UNO for services rendered towards women self-empowerment in 2007 and Best Chief Minister of the Year Award in 2018 at the 52nd Skoch Summit.

Career as MLA:

  • 1985-90: Dholpur (8th Raj Assembly)
  • 2003-08: Jhalrapatan (12th Raj Assembly)
  • 2008-13: Jhalrapatan (13th Raj Assembly)
  • 2013-18: Jhalrapatan (14th Raj Assembly)
  • 2018-23: Jhalrapatan (15th Raj Assembly)
  • 2030-onwards: Jhalrapatan (16th Raj Assembly)

Career as MP:

  • 1989-91: 9th Lok Sabha
  • 1991-96: 10th Lok Sabha
  • 1996-98: 11th Lok Sabha
  • 1998-99: 12th Lok Sabha
  • 1999-2003: 13th Lok Sabha

Ashwani Vaishnav

Ashwani Vaishnav's name has come up as a very interersting development, as this politician has varied and rich experience under his belt. Ashwani Vaishnav is the 39th Minister of Railways, 55th Communications Minister and 2nd Electronics and Information Technnology Minister in the Govt of India, posts that he has held since 2201. He is a member of the Rajya Sabha, representing Odisha since 2019. Ashwani is a 1994 Indian Administrative Services Officer in the Odisha cadre. He hails originally from Pali district in Rajasthan. He is a graduate of MBM Engineering College Jodhpur and has done his MTech from IIT Kanpur before joining IAS in 1994. He was an All India Rank holder (27).

He served as the District Collector of Balasore and Cuttack districts and was then appointed as Dy Secy in the office of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In 2004, he was appointed Private Secretary to Vajpayee and in 2006 he became Chairman of Mormugao Port Trust. In 2008, Vaishnav went to the United States to do his MBA from the Wharton School of Univ of Pennsylvania, following which he ventured into the private sector and worked with GE Transportation as Managing Director and with Seimens as Vice President before venturing out on his own and launched his own company Three Tee Auto Logistics and VeeGee Auto Components, both auto component manufacturing units in Gujarat. With such a diverse experience and exposure both in Politics as well as bureaucracy and the private corporate sector, Vaishnav, if appointed, is expected to take governance in Rajasthan to another level.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

A former Officer of the Indian Army, Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (54) is also an Olympic Medallist in Shooting. Col Rathore took to active politics after retiring from the Indian Army as Colonel. He fought the elections from the Jaipur Rural seat on a BJP ticket and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014. He has served as Cabinet Minister with independent charge for Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports from 2017 until 2019. When in the Indian Army, Rathore fought in the Kargil War and was promoted to Major in 2000. He served in Jammu and Kashmir in counter terrorist operations and was awarded Citations. He was promoted to Lt Col in 2004 and to Col in 2009, four years after which, he retired.

Rathore joined the BJP in 2013 and was elected MP in 2014. Rathore has contested from the Jothwara seat in 2023 Assembly Elections is elected MLA from Jothwara. Rathore has won many medals in shooting at the World Championship in Spain in 2006, climbed to first position during the Athens Olmpics. He had earlier won a Silver medal at the World Championship at Sydney in 2003. This medal in Sydney was the first for India after a gap of 40 years. He also holds an individual Bronze Medal at the Asian Games 2006 in Doha.

A competitor to the core, he has been winning medals and accolades and awards since his days at the National Defence Academy where he was awarded the Blazer (highest sport award at NDA) in 1989, the Sikh Regiment Gold Medal (for best sportsman at IMA) in 1990 and the Sword of Honour as best Gentleman Cadet at IMA again in 1990.  He was the flag bearer for the Indian contingent at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing, China. He was given the AVSM (Ati Vishisht Seva Medal) a military award for exceptional service; in 2003-2004 he was given the Arjun Award, followed by the Major Dhyan CHand Khel Ratna Award in 2004-2005 and finally Padma Shri in 2005.

His being a contender for the top post in Rajasthan does not come as a surprise and Rajasthan can look forward to some exemplary leadership and competitiveness with Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore being among the top brass in the politics of the State.

​​​​​​​Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

Gajendra Singh (also known as "Farmer who wore Jeans") is currently serving as the Union Minister in the Minstry of Jal Shakti in the BJP goverment at the centre. His name has emerged as the new generation BJP Chief Minister candidate for Rajasthan. Shekhawat's journey from being a student leader to now being a Union Minister has been nothing short of commitment and capability. He is overseeing hte implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission at the Centre. Gajendra Singh, however, has dispelled rumours about his candidacy to the top post in Rajasthan. He has even not participated in the Rajasthan Assembly Elections.

Shekhawat's political journey began in 1992 after he won the UNiversity President Elections under the ABVP by a record margin. His leadership skills on the forefront, Shekhawat never looked back and became the General Secretary of BJP's Kisan Morcha. Shekhawat was also involved with the RSS, serving as Gen Secy of Seema Jan Kalyan Samiti and border welfare project by the RSS. He won his first parliamentary election in 2014 defeating his nearest rival again with a record margin. In 2019 Lok Sabha election, he defeated Ashok Gehlot's son Vaibhav Gehlot from Jodhpur by the highest ever winning margin of 4,10,051 votes.

He is a prolific social media user and has a Quora following of more than 80,000 and his responses on social media have been viewed more than 8 million times.

Diya Kumari

Diya Kumari is the grand daughter of Man Singh Ji, the last ruling Maharaja of Jaipur. Her mother, Padmini Devi, was married to former titular king of Jaipur and decorated Officer of the Indian Army, Bhawani Singh, the son of Man Singh Ji. With all the properties and businesses she manages, she is nothing short of a billionnaire. Her foray into politics began with the Lok Sabha elections in 1989, which she fought on a Congress ticket from Jaipur, but was defeated by the BJP. Her grandmoth, Gayatri Devi, was elected as MP from Jaipur three times - 1962, 1967 and 1971. She fought these polls on the Swatantra Party ticket and won with record margins.

Diya Kumari joined the BJP in 2013 when PM Narendra Modi was the CM of Gujarat and Vasundhara Raje was the CM of Rajasthan. She contested from the Sawai Madhopur seat on a BJP ticket in 2013 and became MLA. She did not contest the 2018 elections and in 2019 she contested the Lok Sabha elections from Rajsamand, which she won by a record margin of 5.51 lakh votes. She has won the 2023 Assembly elections from Vidhyadhar Nagar and has replaced five term MLA Narpat Singh Rajvi. Diya Kumari is among the BJP MPs who have been asked to quit from their Lok Sabha seats and this makes the stakes higher for her appointment to a top position in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.

Mahant Baba Balaknath

The candidacy of Mahant Baba Balaknath emanates from the BJP resorting to the Uttar Pradesh model for Rajasthan, buy appointing another head of a religious body as head of a state. Mahant  Balaknath Yogi is the 8th Mahant of the Nath Sect of Hinduism. He was declared as succesor to 7th Mahant Chandnath in July 2016 anad his swearing in ceremony was attended by Yogi Adityanath and Baba Ramdev. Balaknath entered Sanyas at the age of 6 and hails from Alwar. He has currently won the Tijara Assembly seat in Rajasthan and is also the Chancellor of the Baba Mastnath University.

Balaknath's Guru Chandnath was a former MP from Alwar and he shaped his political career. He was nominated as BJP candidate from Alwar in 2019 and won the Lok Sabha seat that year by defeating Bhanwar Jitendra SIngh of the Congress. The margin was a huge 3 lakh votes. On 7 December, he was asked to resign from the Lok Sabh seat following his win from Tijara, increasing the speculation on his taking the post as Chief Minister of Rajasthan or if not, then at least Dy Chief Minister of the desert state.

Why Balaknath is not another Adityanath

Adityanath chose to join the Ram Mandir movement in 1990 after completing his Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from Garhwal. He became a disciple of Mahant Avaidyanath of the Gorakhnath Math, who was leading the Ayodhya Ram Temple movement then. In 2014 he was appointed the Mahant of the Math. Two days after this appointment, he became the Peerhadhishwar (Head Seer) of the Math. Adityanath has a very long political career and immense experience in politics as compared to Balaknath, who has had a very short career in politics for him to take a top spot in state politics. Adityanath was MP from the Gorakhpur constituency between 1998-2017 befor he resigned to become Chief Minister. Balaknath tenure has been much shorter and his lack of experience was visible on the streets of Jaipur a day after he was elected, a stance which made him give a public apology.

However, if the BJP is bent on following the UP model in Rajasthan, then Balaknath could be a contender for the CMs post, or if not then the Dy CM post, as speculations are rife that the BJP is considering two Dy CMs for Rajasthan. He being asked to resign as MP will result in either of these.

Information Source: Media Reports and Wikipedia

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