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From Raje to Balaknath: Who are the top CM contenders for Rajasthan?

Vasundhara Raje, Mahant Balaknath, Diya Kumari, Kirodi Lal Meena, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and CP Joshi emerge as strong contenders for the CM post

Former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje

Former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje (Photo: Twitter)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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With the Rajasthan state elections done and dusted, the focus is now on who will be the chief minister of Rajasthan. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured its victory in the state with 115 of the 199 seats that went to polls on November 25, surpassing the 101-mark required to form government. Among the candidates, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, MP Mahant Balaknath, MP Diya Kumari, MP Rajyavardhan Rathore, and MP Kirodi Lal Meena all secured victory from their respective seats. Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Rajasthan BJP chief CP Joshi are also considered heavyweights in the state, leaving several strong contenders for the CM seat in Rajasthan.

The party chose to campaign on "Modi ki guarantee" and the party "lotus" symbol in Rajasthan. Here are the top contenders for the CM seat in Rajasthan:

Vasundhara Raje

BJP senior leader and two-time chief minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje, is a strong contender for the chief ministerial position despite not being the face of BJP in Rajasthan during the recent elections. The 70-year-old holds significant influence in the state with a strong legacy in politics. Raje also secured the Jhalrapatan seat with an impressive 53,193 vote margin on Sunday.

 

Baba Balaknath

According to a report by ANI, Mahant Balaknath, better known as Baba Balaknath, is considered a "favourite" for the CM's post in Rajasthan. Similar to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Balaknath belongs to the Nath community and has considerable support in Alwar. He has also been dubbed the Yogi of Rajasthan by the media.

Baba Balaknath is known for his provocative statements, such as likening his electoral contest against Imran Khan to an "India-Pakistan" match. He also embraced sannyasa at the age of 6. Balaknath held the Parliamentary seat from Alwar and won the Tijara seat by a short margin of 6,173 against Congress candidate Imran Khan.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat played a significant role in the Rajasthan state Assembly elections. He also found himself entangled in a public dispute with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot concerning the Sanjivani Credit Cooperative Society Scam, which led to a criminal defamation suit being filed by the Shekhawat.
 
Despite the Union minister having claimed in early October that he was not in the race for the chief minister's post in Rajasthan, media speculations continue. According to a survey by NDTV-CSDS Lokniti, Shekhawat emerged as the third-strongest candidate for Chief Ministership, following Vasundhara Raje and Baba Balaknath.

Diya Kumari

Hailing from the former Jaipur royal family, Diya Kumari has secured victory in three elections since her induction into the BJP in 2013. In the 2019 general election, she achieved a substantial victory margin of 551,000 votes, earning her the title of "daughter of Jaipur."

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During the state Assembly polls, Kumari maintained her lead on the Sawai Madhopur seat and won against Congress candidate Sitaram Agarwal with a substantial margin of 71,368 votes.

Kirodi Lal Meena

A seasoned BJP veteran, Kirodi Lal Meena entered the Rajasthan political arena with the aim of garnering support from the Meena community. Meena secured the win for the BJP with a vote margin of 22,510 against Congress candidate Danish Abrar.

CP Joshi

CP Joshi serves as the state unit chief of the Rajasthan BJP. Taking charge of the state unit in March, the 48-year-old played a pivotal role in uniting rival factions within the party and helping the BJP secure victory in the state, making him a strong contender for the CM position.

Rajendra Rathore

Rajendra Rathore is a senior leader of the BJP and also served as the leader of the Opposition in Rajasthan, representing the party from the Churu constituency. Rathore was also seen as a top contender for the CM position in the state. However, he failed to secure his seat. Narendra Budania of the Congress party won the Taranagar seat with a vote margin of 7,206 on Sunday.
 

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First Published: Dec 04 2023 | 1:49 PM IST

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