Four powerful BJP women in the dock

June 25, 2015 02:50 am | Updated November 16, 2021 07:16 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Is it sheer coincidence or is it intra-party politics that four powerful BJP women leaders are finding themselves in the dock today?

This was the talking point at the BJP office here on Wednesday. Even before the dust had settled on Lalitgate came the news break on Human Resource Development Minister >Smriti Irani’s graduation degree controversy and the alleged involvement of Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde in a scam relating to works allotted for social welfare schemes.

Stormy session ahead Four women, all of whom are powerful in their own way, are in the eye of a storm that is likely to devour the first few days of the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.

>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was once considered prime ministerial material but lost the race when she stuck her neck out against Narendra Modi’s nomination as the prime ministerial candidate. She fell back in line.

As a Minister of State in former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s office, Vasundhara Raje made a mark. The two-time Chief Minister of Rajasthan won 163 of the 200 Assembly seats — of course with Mr. Modi by her side — in 2013. But a year later when everybody thought anti-incumbency was setting in against her government, she surprised everyone by winning all the 25 Lok Sabha seats.

Her association with Lalit Modi during her last term was a talking point. However, there is constant speculation about when she might be reined in.

Ms. Irani had impressed in Parliament with her staunch defence of the need for a strong law against rape in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya gang-rape in Delhi. As a Minister, she comes to the House well-prepared but having rubbed people the wrong way and with the changes she has ushered in the sector and institutions, she is one of the most criticised Ministers in the Modi Cabinet. Recently she was dropped as an office-bearer of the BJP national executive.

In Maharashtra, the party had desperately turned to >Pankaja Munde, the daughter of former Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde, who died in a road accident in New Delhi. The party needed Pankaja to handle the crowds and to convince them that Mr. Munde’s death was indeed an accident.

She rose to the occasion and in the new political dispensation that emerged with the BJP and the Sena in power in the State, Pankaja surged ahead in the race for CM’s post. But at the last moment she was dropped.

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