After years of getting prominent display on BJP posters in Rajasthan, former chief minister and BJP bigwig Vasundhara Raje’s face went missing from the party hoardings for the first time in two decades, indicating that Congress is not alone in fighting factionalism.
While BJP’s state unit president Satish Poonia said newer faces replacing the older is indicative of a generational shift, Raje supporters were not amused, insisting hers was the most popular BJP face in the state.
Poonia, a known Raje critic, said the decision on who would get a place on posters is taken by the Central leadership.
"The state unit has no say in this matter. According to an established norm, the state president’s photo is displayed on hoardings in all the states, along with the photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, national president J P Nadda, the chief minister of the state where the party is in power. But where ever the party is in opposition, the protocol is to put the photo of the leader of the Opposition and the state president. All this is decided by Delhi," he said.
However, the explanation did not cut ice with Raje’s supporters. A former BJP MLA, Prahlad Gunjal, not only targeted Raje critics but also asserted that it’s impossible for the BJP to return to power in Rajasthan without Raje.
"Who are these people who want to sideline Raje? Frankly, it’s unimaginable how BJP will return to power in Rajasthan without Vasundhara at the helm. We do not have a single leader of her stature in the state," he said.
Clearly, the decision to drop Raje from BJP posters and the party’s state chief’s attempt to justify it has fanned the flames of discontent, which will only likely grow stronger.