JAIPUR: The new BJP Chief for Rajasthan, Satish Poonia, officially took charge at a grand function but it’s the absence of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje. That is the big buzz among political circles in Jaipur.
Although the gala show at the BJP state headquarters on Tuesday was attended by Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Arjun Meghwal, Kailash Choudhary, BJP vice-president Om Mathur, leader of opposition Gulabchand Kataria, MP Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore and hundreds of party workers, Raje gave the mega event a royal miss.
To cover up for her notable absence, Raje did send a congratulatory letter to Poonia which was read out by BJP General Secretary, Bhajanlal Sharma.
In the letter, Raje said, "You are young, hardworking and an honest worker and hence I am confident that you shall come to full expectations of the organisation. I was keen to attend the programme, however, in the wake of Brahmin bhoj, kanya prasadi and prayers post-Navratri, which were all fixed much before your programme, I failed to mark my presence."
Apart from Vasundhara Raje, there were other top leaders also present at the function.
Former state party President, Ashok Parnami, was also present who is considered to be a part of the Raje camp along with Rajendra Rathore.
Poonia is a low profile leader and comes from Jat community which is considered politically very strong and his appointment is being seen as another indication of how much Vasundhara Raje is now being sidelined by the BJP top brass.
Poonia who was also the party's spokesperson in the state, is considered close to its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Raje’s rift with the RSS state unit has been well known for years. It’s because of the long-standing rift between Raje-loyalists and RSS supporters that the Rajasthan BJP has seen intense infighting for years.
Due to this rift, it was widely expected that Raje may skip Poonia’s grand show of strength – and that is exactly how events played out at the gala show on Tuesday.
During the event, Satish Poonia remembered RSS ideologue Shayamaprasad Mukherjee, Deendayal Upadhyaya and former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said that in BJP, even a small worker can reach big heights because of their work.
"I am also worker of the party. What PM Modi's mission is across India, it will be my mission in Rajasthan. We want a 'Congress mukt Rajasthan", he added.
Political observers feel that this is not the first time that Central leadership has made a point across that new leadership will be promoted in the state.
This is the reason why Vasundhara Raje has not been consulted on various decisions. In fact, decisions have been taken completely against her wishes. While nobody can deny that she has been a two time Chief Minister in Rajasthan, Central leadership is in a strong position and does not think too strongly of this.
"The way her personality is, she will never take this lightly. Either she will try to make good relations with the Central leadership or will do as she wishes disregarding the implications", Senior Journalist and political analyst Narayan Bareth said.
Raje loyalists believe that she is not entirely happy after being made the Party Vice President and being taken away from active politics of Rajasthan. She has made her intentions clear by maintaining a distance from Satish Poonia's swearing-in as the party President in the state.
Raje camp understands that Satish is a newbie while Vasundhara Raje is a two time Chief Minister and a veteran politician. The question is what will be the next move of the Raje camp.