The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Officers can’t wait for Raje

Jaipur, Dec. 5: Vasundhara Raje will be elected the BJP legislature party leader tomorrow, but the administration has already started treating her as its new boss.

Chief secretary R.K. Nair, the head of the state bureaucracy, called on Vasundhara this morning at her temporary home at Vaishali Nagar. She has been living there since her nomination as state BJP chief late last year.

Like the hard-boiled senior IAS officer who found no difficulty in acknowledging his duties, the state police, too, promptly appreciated the change three days ahead of the swearing-in.

This was evident yesterday in the big presence of senior police officers at Sanganer airport when Vasundhara landed from Jhalawar. The police brass queued up to greet the chief minister-in-waiting.

Not only did the law enforcers beef up security at Vasundhara’s home, a security caravan that normally accompanies the chief minister escorted her to the state BJP and RSS offices yesterday.

The party’s new MLAs, too, started trooping into Jaipur from this morning, in keeping with Vasundhara’s instructions, and called on their new leader.

The BJP legislature party will meet here tomorrow morning to elect its new leader in what would be a mere formality.

Union finance minister Jaswant Singh and party general-secretary Pramod Mahajan, who was overall in-charge of the Assembly polls, would be the observers.

In a first-time departure from the norm, the new chief minister will be sworn in at the large grounds of Amroodo Ka Bagh instead of Raj Bhavan, about 2 km from the proposed site, on Monday.

This would be in keeping with Mahajan’s vow to organise the swearing-in at Amroodo ka Bagh, where Vasundhara had addressed her first public meeting. Governor Kailashpati Mishra will administer the oath of office.

With the BJP securing an absolute majority at 120 in the 200-strong Assembly, it is understood Vasundhara has already started the exercise of cabinet formation.

She would be required to do a balancing act with speculations rife that many members of the last BJP ministry led by Bhairon Singh Shekhawat may find berths. Observers are also waiting to see whether she will include those who were considered controversial during the last regime.

Though a festive mood prevailed during the day, Vasundhara failed to visit the party office as she was preoccupied with the meetings with MLAs and leaders.

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