Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J.P. Nadda held a closed door meeting with leaders of the Rajasthan unit of the party, including former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, State unit chief Satish Poonia, and Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Shekhawat, on Tuesday, with the underlying message that the party needed to pull together under the principle of collective leadership in the run up to the Assembly polls in the State in 2023.
The meeting, which began mid-morning and ended by 1 p.m. in the afternoon, and was largely about avoiding faction fights and talk of who would be projected as the party’s face in the polls, and instead concentrate on strengthening the party organisation. A senior leader present at the meeting said that the recently concluded Assembly polls, where the BJP returned to power in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand, loomed over the meeting, with the message being that “Modi- ji paryapt hain” (Modi is enough) as the face to be projected for now.
The BJP’s general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh and the State unit’s organisational secretary Chandra Shekhar were also present in the meeting held at Mr. Nadda’s residence.
The party’s central leadership also suggested exposing the Congress government in the State on corruption, farm loan waivers, unemployment and lawlessness, they said.
Mr. Nadda is expected to visit the State in May, and the message of unity will be driven home in some of the meetings that are held then. “First when Santosh- ji visited Rajasthan and later when Amit Shah- ji also visited, the message was of working together, and so it will be with Mr. Nadda’s visit too,” a source said.
The BJP’s top brass also conveyed that the party’s stand on all issues should be the same, and uniform. Activities should be well-coordinated with all leaders, and at the same time they should not speak in different tunes on different issues. It has been reported that the BJP’s Rajasthan unit is marred with factionalism, with groups under several leaders, including Ms. Raje, Mr. Poonia and others.
Ms Raje, a two-time Chief Minister of the State, is perceived to be the BJP’s tallest leader in Rajasthan but has had few run–ins with the high command in Delhi over the appointments of the State unit chief after the top leadership proposed Mr. Shekhawat’s name.
But it seems some rapproachment has been sought, as Ms. Raje recently secured an audience with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Budget Session of Parliament, and was present at the oath taking ceremonies of the BJP government in both Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Despite facing defeat in the 2018 Assembly polls, BJP did exceedingly well in the 2019 general elections by winning all 25 seats from the State with the comfortable margins. But the party lost the bypolls in the State in 2021.