JAIPUR: Vasundhara Raje's absence from the first meeting of the Rajasthan BJP’s core group on Sunday has stoked controversy in the political circles of Jaipur. Though officially Raje was reportedly away due to family commitments, most veterans see this as a royal snub from the former chief minister and national vice-president whose political future in the state has been much-discussed in recent months.
The BJP’s core group for Rajasthan, comprising 12 members and four special invitees, has been formed as an effort to stop the infighting among the senior leaders of the state unit which threatens to damage the party in the future. Despite being sidelined in the past two years, Raje was included in this group in a bid to patch up the rift within the Rajasthan BJP, especially between Raje loyalists and the RSS faction headed by state BJP president Satish Poonia.
In the recent months, it has been noteworthy that supporters of Vasundhara Raje, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Gulabchand Kataria, BJP state chief Satish Poonia and some other BJP veterans have been involved in a tussle on social media to get their favourite leaders announced as the CM face for the next Assembly elections in Rajasthan. Given that this tug of war has often created much embarrassment for the party, BJP national general secretary and state in-charge Arun Singh made some pertinent remarks to tone down this issue.
Singh advised all senior leaders to resist this race since the CM face will be ultimately by the BJP’s Parliamentary Board at the Centre and be decided not the social media. As for the internal rift in the state unit, Arun Singh remarked, “We do not have any dissensions but some differences of opinion. These differences of opinion are not bad for any vibrant party as they enable us to get varying views on all issues.”
By giving a place to opposing camps in the core group, the BJP High Command had hoped to evolve and maintain a political balance in the state unit. The group has also been mandated to meet each month to prevent any communication gap and remove differences among its leaders. But with Vasundhara Raje skipping the very first meeting, it seems that the effort to pacify all leaders who are potential chief ministerial candidates will not be an easy task despite the formation of the high-profile core group.