Gulab Chand Kataria to become the Leader of Opposition
Eight months ahead of the State Assembly elections in Rajasthan, the Bharatiya Janata Party ended ambiguity over its Chief Ministerial candidate by announcing that former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will lead the party in the run-up to the polls.
Though there is no surprise in the announcement, it was not expected this early as some of the prominent BJP leaders in the State are opposed to her leadership. Last year, Ms. Raje had threatened to quit the party if the Central leadership did not step in to rein in her opponents and name her as the Chief Ministerial candidate.
The newly elected BJP president Rajnath Singh held discussions with senior leaders of the Rajasthan unit on Saturday. He prevailed upon them to patch up their differences and work for the party’s victory in the Assembly polls scheduled in September/October.
After the meeting Mr. Singh announced that Ms. Raje would lead the party in the forthcoming Assembly elections. The announcement was made in the presence of senior party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.
Mr. Singh said senior leader in the Rajasthan unit Gulab Chand Kataria, who was at loggerheads with Ms. Raje, will be the Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly. He will take over from Ms. Raje, who quit the post.
Besides the two Leaders of the Opposition in Parliament, others present at the meeting with Mr. Singh included Ms. Raje, Mr. Kataria and outgoing party state President Arun Chaturvedi. “The party will work united under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje,” Mr. Singh told reporters.
Ms. Raje said, “The BJP is a family. In this, not just us but workers are also there. This is a big family and, as Gulab Chand Kataria said, we will take it forward with everybody. I want to assure everybody that in this family, everybody has a place and for this we all, Gulabji will make the Rajasthan BJP strong and take it ahead. There are no two views on that.”