JAIPUR: Amit Shah seems to be tightening his grip over Rajasthan’s BJP unit and its campaign for the upcoming Assembly election in the state.
Shah begins his Rajasthan tour from Jaipur on Tuesday, but even before reaching Jaipur he has created an election management committee which has his favourite, Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, as convener. The committee will be headed by the Rajasthan BJP chief, and making Gajendra Singh the convener is seen as downsizing Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Raje will just be a member of the 16-member committee packed with Shah favourites and RSS-backed leaders.
The choice of Gajendra Singh as the convener of this committee has created a buzz in the BJP as after the party’s setback in by-elections in February this year, then party president Ashok Parnami was forced to resign. After that, the post remained vacant for 72 days because Vasundhara Raje strongly opposed Gajendra Singh, who is believed to have been Amit Shah’s first choice for party president. The party then gave the post of state president to low-profile Madan Lal Saini. Gajendra Singh being made the convener is being seen as an attempt to cut down Raje’s stature and elevate Singh. It’s a known fact that Shah and PM Narendra Modi have been uncomfortable with Raje for the last couple of years.
Satish Poonia and Union minister Arjun Ram Meghawal are the co-conveners of the committee. Both have strong RSS backing and are known to be in the anti-Raje camp. On the other hand, Raje’s ministerial favourites, PWD Minister Yunus Khan and Panchayati Raj Minister Rajendra Rathore, are just members of the committee.