Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje submitted her resignation as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly on Monday, the opening day of the current session.
Ms. Raje, who addressed the BJP Legislature Party meeting before the start of the session, later met Assembly Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat to submit her resignation. Her successor in the Assembly would be chosen in a week’s time, she told journalists later.
Mr. Shekhawat, however, who raised a technical point regarding the Leader of the Opposition’s post, said the House was concerned about what came collectively from the BJP Legislature Party, not from an individual.
Ms. Raje expressed satisfaction over the role she had and indicated that she would continue to remain in Rajasthan politics. Party insiders said her attempt was to hoist someone from her own group as the new leader in the House.
If left to the party leadership in Delhi, the choice is likely to be former Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria — who does not belong to the Raje camp — or a neutral person like Rao Rajendra Singh. Current Deputy Leader Ghanshyam Tiwari could have been the natural choice but for the fact that the State president, Arun Chaturvedi, is also a Brahmin.
Ms. Raje’s resignation — though a foregone conclusion after a party directive was issued to her a few months back to quit — marks the end of a prolonged battle with the BJP leadership, then headed by Rajnath Singh, over her leadership in Rajasthan.
She had tried to resist the move to unseat her through several methods, including a parade of her supporters among the party MLAs in Delhi and an appeal to senior leader L.K. Advani.
Though the leadership sought her resignation for not taking moral responsibility for the party’s defeat in Rajasthan in the Assembly and the Lok Sabha polls, Ms. Raje refused to take the blame and step down.
The party directive came in the wake of a similar action in States where the BJP fared poorly in the Lok Sabha and after the voluntary stepping down of her counterpart in the party organisation here, Omprakash Mathur.
Ms. Raje’s contention was that hers was an elected post and the majority of MLAs still remained with her. The arguments notwithstanding, she succumbed to party pressure and handed over her resignation to Mr. Advani in October last.