On April 16, Ashok Parnami resigned from the post of Rajasthan BJP chief. The post is still vacant, even with assembly elections coming up later this year. This goes to show the rivalry between the state and Centre party camps.
According to senior party sources, the Central leadership was hoping to make Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat the new Rajasthan BJP chief.
Alternative names doing the rounds include another Centre-backed candidate, Arjun Ram Meghwal, while the state leadership has suggested the names of ex-party chief Arun Chaturvedi and MLA Shrichand Kriplani.
The appointment of Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was opposed by CM Vasundhara Raje’s camp due to the potential loss of votes from the Jat community over the appointment of a Rajput in that position. Former minister and senior leader Devi Singh Bhati openly deprecated the move. Bhati claimed that he is not a mass leader and appointing him might cause damage to the party rather than benefit it.
The state of politics of Rajasthan has always been communal – especially, the historical rivalry between the Rajputs and the Jats.
CM Vasundhara Raje wants her ‘yes man’ in the position. Whereas after losing the by-polls, the new party unit chief is expected to take some tough decisions to strengthen the party organisation ahead of the elections.
The princess of the former Scindia royal family opposed the move in her patent style – she sent her MLAs and ministers to Delhi to keep her claim strong. The ministers and MLAs of Vasundhara’s camp stayed there for a few days but came back with desperation after meeting General Secretary Ram Lal as party president Amit Shah was busy with the Karnataka elections.
This is also not the first time that she has dealt with something like this. In, 2008, she did the same against her rivals on her appointment as leader of opposition in the Rajasthan state assembly. But this time, the political manoeuvring of the CM does not seem to be bringing any positive results.
The Centre had delayed the announcement of the new party chief till the Karnataka elections were over and it’s been several days now since all the drama over the Karnataka elections ended. Meanwhile, there is no one to lead nearly 10 lakh members of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajasthan unit, even the year of assembly elections. The news of inner party rivalries is growing strong in the state.
The inner tug war for the appointment of the BJP Rajasthan chief has led to the post remaining void for more than a month, initiating a wave of dismay among the party’s workers. There is no one to lead them. This is surely going to impact the party negatively in the Rajasthan assembly elections scheduled to be held later this year.