JAIPUR: The BJP high command may be mapping the Vijay Abhiyan 2019—a two-month schedule to perk up the party morale in Rajasthan before the Lok Sabha polls, but the biggest challenge is balancing its politics to nominate the right person for the opposition leader’s job, post the Assembly debacle. The scenario was muddled further with the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting last Thursday deciding “not to” nominate any of the chief ministers in any state where the party had lost the Assembly polls, although in the Rajasthan perspective former CM Vasundhara Raje Scindia’s clout continues despite her defeat and notwithstanding doubts over her capacity to lead in the RSS circle.
The RSS is believed to be “not” in favour of Raje as the leader, though Raje loyalist Kalicharan Saraf recently claimed that she had the majority support. Former Vidhan Sabha speaker and party elder Kailash Meghwal’s opinion that the party should be left to take a final decision had forced internal bickering into the open recently. The RSS camp and Raje have had long-standing differences, with the former believing that voters were “not angry” with the party but with Raje-the reason for the defeat.
With Lok Sabha polls ahead, she as the leader of Opposition might prove detrimental to the chances of the party in registering a better show, said a senior BJP leader. Raje’s equation with national president Amit Shah has not been cosy, as was evident from the fact that she did not share the dais with him or the PM during the entire Assembly campaign. Shah had pitched for Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh as party president, which Raje did not agree to.
After 72 days of the post remaining vacant due to the “tussle”, Raje loyalist Madan Lal Saini was appointed state president. The word in the political circles here is that Raje will be asked to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections However, a majority in the party do appear to believe that it will still be difficult to sideline Raje. Of the 73 elected legislators, over 50 are her loyalists. The RSS wants Meghwal, 85, as the Opposition leader, while former home minister Gulab Chand Kataria’s name is also doing the rounds. Rajendra Rathore, considered close to the Raje camp, is also in the running.
Most believe Raje will definitely have a say in who finally gets nominated. At a recent motivational workshop organised at the BJP headquarters for workers and frontal organizations, posters of Raje and party president Madan Lal Saini were conspicuously absent. But of the 700 office-bearers invited, just around 300 attended, pointing again to dissensions within.
State party president Madan Lal Saini has also indicated that Raje may not be in the race for the post of Leader of Opposition. “Earlier, whoever was in charge of the elections was given the post in case of defeat. But it may be different this time. Whatever changes are to be made will happen soon after consultations with all legislators”. Meanwhile, the party has nominated Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and state party in- charge Avinash Khanna to observe a brainstorming session with each MLA individually to arrive at the majority choice for leader of opposition.