JAIPUR: After long deliberation, Rajasthan BJP has finally chosen, Senior legislator and former home minister Gulab Chand Kataria, as the Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly.
The decision was taken unanimously by the BJP legislature party during a meeting at the party office in Jaipur. Seven-time MLA Rajendra Rathore was chosen as his deputy. Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje proposed the name of Mr Kataria which was seconded by the party MLAs.
Party's National General Secretary, Arun Singh, told reporters after the meeting that there was only one proposal for the leader of the opposition post. Kataria is known to be a favourite of Rashtriya Swayam Sewak, he will have the huge responsibility of making sure that the party does well in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
BJP had won all of 25 seats in 2014 but it has recently lost The Vidhan Sabha elections to Congress and in such a scenario it will be difficult to get the majority of the seats in the national polls. There is a tendency in Rajasthan voters to gravitate towards the party which has done well in The Vidhan Sabha elections and vote for them in the Lok Sabha elections as well.
In his interaction with the media, Kataria said that he will try to fulfil all the responsibilities in the best possible way.
After the name was decided in the meeting, a series of congratulatory messages started pouring for Kataria. Earlier, in the Legislative Party meeting, 71 MLAs out of 73 reached for taking the decision. In place of Arun Jaitley, the party's National General Secretary Arun Singh was present.
Kataria was first elected as MLA in 1977, then in 1980. He has won all assembly elections since 1993, remaining a member of the house.
Governor Kalyan Singh will administer him the oath of office on Monday.
His deputy Rajendra Rathore has served as the Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the State.
Union HRD minister and party's poll in-charge in the state Prakash Javadekar, national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi and party's state president Madan Lal Saini were also present in the meeting.
Rajendra Rathore hails from the Rajput community and currently, Rajputs are angry with BJP. To appease the Rajput community he has been made Gulab Chand Kataria's deputy.
Sources in the party say, Vasundhara Raje, it has been felt, did not want him to be the leader of opposition because he would have become the Chief Ministerial face after 5 years for the next Vidhansabha elections.
Former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who ruled Rajasthan for 16 years as the head of BJP in Rajasthan, will now participate in national politics.
Since the decision of the BJP central leadership, the discussions in the political corridors are abuzz, and many speculations are being made.
According to the political experts, Vasundhara Raje's silence on the matter has her own vested interest. It is believed that Vasundhara is awaiting the results of Lok Sabha elections. If the results in the Lok Sabha elections are firmly in favour of Modi, Vasundhara will have to move forward on the political path shown by Delhi.
But if the results go against the Modi Shah duo, one might get to see a new face of Vasundhara Raje.