JAIPUR: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, recently appointed as BJP's election in-charge of Rajasthan, dropped a bombshell on the Raje camp after he asserted that ticket distribution would be done by a 14-member Core Committee.
His statement is widely seen as a move to clip the wings of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who held an upper hand in ticket distribution in 2013.
Incidentally, the 14-member panel comprises many from the anti-Raje camp such as Union minister Arjun Meghwal, party vice-president Om Mathur, BJP general secretary (organisation) Chandershekar and Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria.
With the inclusion of Javadekar, a clear signal is being sent to BJP ticket aspirants that Raje will not be the epicentre of ticket distribution.
While the Raje camp wants a large number of tickets to be given to her supporters, the committee has summoned 32 people from each Vidhan Sabha seat to give their opinion. The first list of candidates is likely to be announced close to Diwali.
BJP president Amit Shah has taken the reins of the election campaign in his own hands. The tussle between Raje and Shah started in April over deciding a new BJP state chief. Shah wanted Jodhpur MP Gajendra Shekhawat but due to Raje's opposition, the post remained vacant for 72 days before Madan Lal Saini was elected.
Recently, Shah appointed Shekhawat as convenor of the Election Coordination Committee. In contrast, Raje was only made a member of the committee.
Meanwhile, the Raje camp is believed to be angry but maintained a silence. “Elections will be fought under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje. If we win, she will be the CM again. Whatever Prakash Javadekar said, you should talk to him about it,” Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf, a known Raje loyalist, said.
A senior BJP leader claimed that the CM's camp fears if her supporters are denied tickets and party wins, then Raje may face difficulty in becoming the CM again.