JAIPUR: The two-month-long suspense over the new president of the Rajasthan unit of the BJP ended on Friday with Madan Lal Saini, the recently-appointed Rajya Sabha MP from the state, becoming the chosen one.
The RSS man’s name was circulating in political and media circles in Jaipur since Friday afternoon, and late in the evening, his appointment in this crucial election year was confirmed in New Delhi.
“I am thankful to party president and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje for entrusting me with this crucial responsibility. We will win the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly election and 2019 Lok Sabha election with the help of our booth workers, who are the party’s core strength” said Saini.
With Saini’s appointment, the BJP Central leadership has succeeded in appointing a person of its choice. However, the Delhi High Command could not appoint its first choice, Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, as his name was reportedly resisted by the Vasundhara Raje camp as the CM was keen to have her loyalist on the post rather than the RS S - b a cke d Shekhawat.
The Raje camp had reportedly argued that making a Rajput leader the state party chief could antagonize another politically influential community, the Jats, who are traditional rivals of Rajputs. Saini’s elevation seems to be based on caste calculations as he belongs to the OBC community, which has nearly 16 per cent votes in Rajasthan.
Interestingly, it is also being seen as a move to counter the Ashok Gehlot factor as he is also an OBC leader. Reacting to the appointment, Sachin Pilot, Rajasthan PCC chief, said, “Although it’s their internal matter, but the final choice seems to have been made not on grounds of capability. The BJP kept the post vacant for such a long time because of caste factors. It proves how strongly the BJP believes in casteism”.
“He is the right choice as he is a very hard-working grass-roots worker. Our party will regain power in Rajasthan under his guidance and leadership,” countered Arun Chaturvedi, Social Justice Minister, Rajasthan government.
How the choice of Saini, a political lightweight with a clean image, finally plays itself out will be clear only after the Assembly polls.
But well before that, how the new president evolves a working equation with the Raje camp will be closely followed.