Vasundhara Raje

Vasundhara Raje is the ex-Chief Minister of Rajasthan state of India from December 2003 till December 2008. She is the first woman Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

Early life

Vasundhara Raje was born on March 8, 1953 in Mumbai. She is daughter of Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia and Jivaji Rao Scindia of Gwalior, members of the prominent Scindia royal family. She completed her school education from Presentation Convent, Kodaikanal. Thereafter, she graduated in Economics and Political Science (Hons.) from Sophia College, Mumbai University, Mumbai. She married former Maharajah of Dholpur, Hemant Singh, on 17 November 1972.


Vasundhara Raje was initiated into politics by her mother in 1982. She held a variety of posts in the BJP and was elected to the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly in 1985. From 1989 onwards she won four consecutive elections to the Lok Sabha from Jhalawar, Rajasthan. Under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's premiership, Vasundhara Raje held independent charge of numerous cabinet departments: Small Scale Industries and Agro & Rural Industries, Personnel and Training, Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space and her most prominent role, that of the Union Minister of State for External Affairs.

In 2003, she shot to prominence by leading the BJP to its biggest victory in the state elections in Rajasthan as the State BJP President; She won from Jhalrapatan seat. Her son Dushyant Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha from her former constituency, Jhalawar.

Chief Minister

Vasundhara Raje's five-year term as Chief Minister was marked by a strong focus on infrastructure-building and social initiatives, but it was also noted for caste violence and rebellion by local leaders against Vasundhara's firm style of leadership.

As the Finance Minister, Raje was able to steer the state from a budget deficit into a budget surplus for the first time since the 1991-1992 budget, in accordance with the guidelines of the 12th Finance Commission. Rajasthan became self-sufficient in power generation, and massive road and canal-building projects were undertaken under her administration. She implemented a Tourism Unit Policy, intent on expanding upon Rajasthan's ability to cater to large numbers of tourists by increasing the number of accommodations available. She was also active in courting the IT (Information Technology industry) to open offices in the state, and oversaw the building of new schools and colleges. On the social front, Vasundhara introduced mid-day meal schemes for mothers, insurance schemes, transportation vouchers for girl students and skills training for workers.

In 2007, she was awarded "Women Together Award", by the UNO, for efforts to assist women in self-empowerment.

On the downside, Vasundhara's government provided reservations to the Meena caste, which led to demands by the Gurjar caste for similar reservations. The protests saw the blockade of national highways and violence. Despite coming up with an amicable solution and using diplomacy with caste leaders, it was believed that the face-off led to loss of support from both castes. Another issue that was raised against her was corruption within her administration. Despite her development and social schemes. caste rivalry, corruption allegations and moves by members of the BJP who viewed her as too autocratic, all led to her defeat in the 2008 Assembly Elections in Rajasthan.

The media has speculated that after her loss in Rajasthan, Vasundhara will leave state politics and contest the 2009 Lok Sabha elections to rejoin national politics.

Posts held

Membership of Legislative Assembly
  • 1985-90 Member, 8th Rajasthan Legislative Assembly
  • 2003 onwards Member, 12th Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from Jhalrapatan

Membership of Parliament

  • 1989-91 : Member, 9th Lok Sabha
  • 1991-96 : Member, 10th Lok Sabha
  • 1996-98 : Member, 11th Lok Sabha
  • 1998-99 : Member, 12th Lok Sabha
  • 1999-03 : Member, 13th Lok Sabha

Positions held

  • 1985-87 : Vice-President, Yuva Morcha B.J.P., Rajasthan
  • 1984 : Member, National Executive, Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.)
  • 1987 : Vice-President, B.J.P., Rajasthan
  • 1990-91 : Member, Library Committee, Member, Consultative Committee, Ministries of Commerce and Tourism
  • 1991-96 : Member, Consultative Committees, Ministries of Power, Science and Technology, Environment and Tourism1996-97 Member, Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, Member, Consultative Committees, Ministries of Power, Science and Technology and Tourism
  • 1997-1998 : Joint Secretary, B.J.P. Parliamentary Party
  • 1998-99 : Union Minister of State, External Affairs
  • 13 October 1999-31 Aug.. 2001: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Small Scale Industries and Agro & Rural Industries; Department of Personnel and Training; Department of Pensions and Pensioners’ Welfare in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions; Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space
  • 1 September 2001-1 November 2001: Union Minister of State, Small Scale Industries; Personnel, Training, Pensions, Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances; Department of Atomic Energy; and Department of Space (Independent Charge)2 November 2001-
  • 29 January 2003: Union Minister of State, Small Scale Industries; Personnel, Training, Pensions, Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances; Planning; Department of Atomic Energy; and Department of Space (Independent Charge)14 November 2002 -
  • 14 December 2003: President, B.J.P., Rajasthan
  • 8 Dec, 2003 - 8 Dec, 2008: Chief Minister, Rajasthan



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