JAIPUR: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje thinks the outcome of the American Presidential election is a foregone conclusion. And the winner is: Barack Obama!
This was no crystal-gazing on the part of Ms. Raje. Playing host to scribes on the lawns of her Civil Lines residence here, she light-heartedly responded to almost all the questions. And even to this one, though rather indirectly: Between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, who is your favourite?
Ms. Raje, who herself is on the threshold of a tough electoral battle in her home State, may not be a US-watcher but she said: “I think it is a foregone conclusion. The results are almost decided in his (Mr. Obama’s) favour.”
However, she said, the crux of the matter for her was: How is it going to affect India?
Ms. Raje’s unusual post-Diwali tea party—she has been keeping away from the media for some time—was attended by her party colleagues, BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde, treasurer Ramdas Agarwal, spokesperson Prakash Javadekar and Rajasthan State president Omprakash Mathur.
Ms. Raje went around from table to table and sat with each group for a few minutes.
Interacting with the group at the round table where this correspondent sat, Ms. Raje said she took the elections as a performance “test”. Is she nervous about her own election? “Every election is a test. It is like appearing for an examination,” she said. “I don’t have any anxiety or fear. But then a test is a test.”
Ms. Raje said she was satisfied with what her government could do in the past five years in Rajasthan. “Yes. It gives me satisfaction to look back at the work carried out by my government. Yet I wish one could do more.”
When pointed out that there was talk about her own Prime Ministerial ambitions, she chose not to respond directly but shot back, “Do I?”
“I can tell you that I have the ambition to become Chief Minister of Rajasthan again,” she quipped good-humouredly.