Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vasundhara Raje had a strong inclination towards politics since childhood. During her tenure as chief minister of Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje worked towards empowerment of women. She introduced schemes such as mid-day meal for mothers, insurance schemes for women, transportation vouchers for girl students and skills training for workers in the state.
Vasundhara Raje was born to Vijaya Raje Scindia-Shinde and Jivajirao Scindia- Shinde in Bombay, Bombay State ( Now Mumbai, Maharashtra) on March 8, 1953. Her father was Maharaja of Gwalior princely state while mother was Rajmata of Gwalior. She has four sisters- Late Padma Raje, Usha Raje, Late Padmavati Raje, Yashodhara Raje- and a brother Late Madhavrao Scindia who was a senior leader in Congress.
The 66-year-old leader showed her leadership skills during her tenure as chief minister of Rajasthan and had worked towards the betterment of women in the state. She was felicitated with the Woman Together Award by the United Nations for her services towards self-empowerment of Women, in 2007. She also won Best Chief Minister of the year award in 2017.
Raje did her schooling from Presentation Convent, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu. She then completed her graduation in Economics and Political Science from Sophia College in Mumbai.
On November 17, 1972, Raje married Maharaja Rana Hemant Singh of Jat Royal family of Jodhpur. He was the head of the Dhaulpur (Dholpur) princely family in Rajasthan. The couple has a son Dushyanth Singh. Raje separated from her husband in 1974. Dushyant Singh is also a politician and has been a member of Parliament.
Raje entered politics by joining the newly formed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and became the Member of the National Executive of the party in 1984. Raje rose steadily within the hierarchy of the party and has changed the landscape of politics in the state.
In 1985, Raje was elected to Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan from Dholpur constituency. She served as Vice president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha from 1985 to 1987. In 1987 she became the Vice-president of BJP's Rajasthan unit.
Raje became the Member of Parliament for the first time by defeating Shiv Narain of the Congress in 1989 General election. She became Member of the Legislative Assembly thrice, and Member of the Lok Sabha 5 times
Raje went to become the External Affairs minister in the Vajpayee Government in 1998 and held on to the post till August 2001. She once again entered the Central government in 2003 and several important profiles came under her. Several important profiles like Small Scale Industries, Personnel Training, Pensions, Administrative Reforms, and Public Grievances, Department of Atomic Energy, and Department of Space. However, in the same year in December, she was once again elected to be the chief minister of Rajasthan, while being the State President of BJP.
Her term in office (2003–08) was marked by a strong focus on improving the state’s infrastructure (notably constructing more roads, canals, and power stations) and various social initiatives (including greater educational opportunities for the state’s youth).
While she was basking in the success of political journey, Raje experienced the first failure in the 2008 Rajasthan Assembly Election. However, that did not stop her from achieving her ambitions in Politics. She came back to power with a bang.
Following the failure in the election, Raje reinvented herself and reorganised the cadre. She even went on a 105-day yatra covering the distance of 13,012 KM.
She returned to state politics in the year 2009, by becoming the leader of the opposition in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly and held on to the post till December 2013. In the same year assembly election was held, where she defeated Meenakshi Chandrawat, Congress candidate from the Jhalrapatan constituency. Raje gathered more than 50,000 votes from the Jhalrapatan constituency. She had won five times from the same constituency.
In 2013, Raje once again became the Chief Minister of Rajasthan with a landslide victory, capturing 163 seats. She continued to implement several schemes favourable for the women in the state. She introduced schemes such as mid-day meal schemes for mothers, insurance schemes, transportation vouchers for girl students and skills training for workers in the state. She also introduced the Tourism Unit Policy in the state.
Raje in the year 2014, introduced another scheme, Bhamashah Yojana, to empower woman in Rajasthan. The scheme was introduced to transfer financial and non-financial benefits of government schemes directly to women recipients in a transparent way. The scheme was named after a famous minister, financier, and general Bhamashah during Maharana Pratap's
Vasundhara Raje stepped down as chief minister of Rajasthan in December 2018 after BJP lost the assembly elections.
Vasundhara Raje, the former chief minister of Rajasthan and BJP leader has served in different capacities for the Central Government as well as Rajasthan Government and worked extensively towards empowerment of women. On her birthday, we bring you interesting facts about the first woman chief minister of Rajasthan. All pics/ Instagram.
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