As mercury continues to rise, heat is intensifying on BJP leaders across Rajasthan. There is water shortage in most parts of the state and protests for water are being witnessed in pockets of over a dozen districts. While monsoon is yet far off, several ruling party legislators have communicated to the chief minister Vasundhara Raje that, if unchecked, water could cause political damage.
There is concern within BJP that has already been badly stung by farmers’ agitation. The underlying sentiment is that — agitations have a tendency of spreading and if the scattered protests continue unchecked, they have the potential to escalate into law and order situation — something they do not desire when elections are round the corner.
Water came across as a major problem during various jan samvad held by the chief minister. Matters escalated when Raje faced ire of protesting women demanding water in Sikar. Further, as many as 20 MLAs have told the chief minister that they are facing drinking water crisis in their areas. “There is drinking water problem in my area. While most problem areas are in pockets, but they have the potential to inflict damage at a seat,” said an MLA that did not wish to be named.
In last few weeks there have been agitations for water in several districts including Jaipur, Ajmer, Pali, Tonk, Jalore, Sirohi and Bhilwara; Congress has been part of these protests at some places.
Legislators are hard pressed trying to make arrangement at local level through tankers. Government too has been on a spree to launch water projects. Pipeline project was inaugurated in Nagaur, Yamuna water for Jhunjhunu was also announced. Legislators too are busy getting pipeline projects announced in their respective constituencies.
“Water has always been short on these summer months. But with elections just round the corner we cannot afford to take any chances. Arrangements for tanker supply are being made,” said a BJP MLA.
Water came across as a major problem during various jan samvad held by the CM. Matters escalated when Raje faced ire of protesting women demanding water in Sikar. Further, as many as 20 MLAs have told the CM that they are facing drinking water crisis in their areas. As per a rough estimate around 40 constituencies are facing drinking water problems. Monsoon is slated to arrive in Rajasthan at the end of June and till then BJP faces the challenge of keeping water agitations at bay.