Ending weeks of uncertainty Vasundhara Raje has, at last, been brought back as the president of the Rajasthan unit of the BJP. she is likely to assume charge as the president on February 8.
BJP president Rajnath Singh formally announced the appointment, after a meeting of top central and state party leaders here on Saturday. He said that the upcoming state assembly polls would be fought under the leadership of Raje, the most popular and charismatic face of the party in the state. Party in-charge of Rajasthan Kaptan Singh Solanki noted that it implied that Raje would be the party’s chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming elections. Raje has decided to resign as the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, which will be given to Gulab Chand Kataria -- considered her bitter rival in state politics.
“I welcome the party’s decision. The BJP is a big family, comprising leaders and workers, and we will take it forward with everybody. I assure that everybody will have a place in this family and the aim is to make the party stronger and take it ahead in the state,” Raje said, after her name was announced by Rajnath.
Kataria said that he would work with Raje to strengthen the party and make it the frontrunner in the coming state assembly elections.
With her appointment, the BJP has tried to put its house in order in Rajasthan, where a bitter factional feud had threatened to blunt the advantage that it currently enjoys over the ruling Congress, in the run-up to the state assembly elections. The bitter factional feud had been on for several months and Raje had threatened to not to visit the state if the hostile conditions in the party, created by her rivals in state politics, persisted.
The meeting to end the standoff in the state unit was attended by Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley, joint general secretary (organisation) Saudan Singh, Solanki, Raje, Kataria and outgoing state unit president Arun Chaturvedi.
All Rajasthan leaders had a separate meeting with Jaitley. Rajnath, who had made sincere efforts to break the deadlock in the state unit, held separate meetings with Swaraj and Jaitley.
Raje was the Rajasthan Chief Minister from 2003 to 2008. The BJP has 78 MLAs in the 200-member state assembly. Its term ends on December 31 2013.