After being elected for a second time as Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje has started her term by choosing to stay in her MLA bungalow instead of moving to 8 Civil Lines, official residence of the Chief Minister of Rajasthan.
Taking the cue from the Aam Aadmi Party government’s hugely popular austerity measures, Ms. Raje also stops at traffic lights and has reduced her security staff by half. Besides, in an effort to trim down government bills, Ms. Raje has hinted at travelling in regular commercial flights and using the State plane only for emergencies.
These austerity steps hint at an aggressive Public Relations campaign aiming at an image makeover for the Chief Minister, who is usually referred to as maharani or hukum. In fact, after the BJP’s comprehensive victory in the recent Rajasthan Assembly elections, the media — both local and national— hailed her return as the “return of the queen.”
During her last stint, Ms. Raje’s ‘royal’ demeanour often came in for criticism. Now, austerity measures have been welcomed by the people.
“It is heartening to see the Chief Minister stop at traffic lights and fly commercial flights. It’s not much compared to the AAP government in Delhi but it’s definitely a start,” says Anukool Palawat, a telecom engineer from Jaipur’s Tagore Nagar area.