The first woman Chief Minister of Rajasthan, BJP leader Vasundhara Raje has been breaking stereotypes and his battling anti-incumbency in the state to win the Assembly elections 2018.
Born on March 8, 1953, Raje is the 13th chief minister of Rajasthan and is contesting from the Jhalrapatan Assembly constituency against Congress leader Manvendra Singh.
She had won the 2013 elections from the Jhalrapatan constituency for the BJP defeating Congress leader Meenakshi Chandrawat by a huge margin of 60,896 votes. She had ousted the Ashok Gehlot government. The senior BJP leader had previously served as the chief minister of the state from 2003 to 2008, and again since 2013 has been holding the post. As per the 2013 election data, 2,28,977 voters had exercised their franchise in the constituency.
In the mid-eighties, she rose to prominence after becoming the vice-president of the Yuva Morcha BJP in Rajasthan. From the early-nineties till mid-2003, Raje held portfolios in several ministries of the state.
On December 14, 2003, she became the Rajasthan BJP president. She was the chief minister of Rajasthan from December 8, 2003, to December 8, 2008. After losing in 2008, she was the leader of opposition in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from January 2, 2009, to December 8, 2013.
For the 2018 elections, CM Raje has exuded confidence that the BJP will again win in Rajasthan riding on the development work and public welfare schemes of the BJP-led state government.
In its second list of 32 candidates announced by the Congress, Singh, a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and son of veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh, was declared to be fighting Raje, giving the saffron party a big jolt.
Fighting from a small town in Jhalawar district, Jhalrapatan is among the most keenly-watched seats where the contest is as much personal as political. The bulk of voters include Muslims, Dalits, and also the sizable Rajput electorate which has traditionally voted for the BJP but has been increasingly growing disenchanted with the ruling party.
The Rajput discontent against Raje stems from the denial in 2014 of a ticket to BJP stalwart Jaswant Singh -- a former foreign, finance and defence minister, party vice president and a close confidante of late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee -- to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Barmer, his home district. The BJP had then fielded Congress turncoat and Jat leader Sonaram Chaudhary, who won the seat.
Jaswant Singh, 80, who lost contesting as an independent in 2014, has virtually faded into political oblivion after a stroke after a fall. CM Raje is held responsible by Singh's family for denying him the ticket in 2014.
The polling in Rajasthan took place on December 7 in the 199 out of the total 200 assembly seats. The Election Commission has postponed polls in Alwar's Ramgarh seat following the death of BSP candidate Laxman Singh.