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Rajasthan BJP puts up brave front amid internal feuds

Vasundhara Raje.  

Confronted with internal feuds after an outfit in support of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was launched here recently, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajasthan unit has put up a brave front and denied factionalism as rumours. The BJP leaders have insisted that there were “no divisions” in the party.

Though the formation of Vasundhara Raje Samarthak Rajasthan Manch created ripples in the political circles here, the BJP leaders were quick to dismiss it as insignificant and pointed towards factionalism in the ruling Congress.

Ms. Raje has avoided making public appearances and her name is generally missing in the posters of the party’s regular events.

Senior leaders Gulab Chand Kataria, Satish Poonia, Rajendra Rathore, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Arjun Ram Meghwal are said to be nursing chief ministerial ambitions. According to the political observers, the Manch has been floated at Ms. Raje’s behest after her marginalisation by the party’s top leadership.

Signals of internal feud came from the remarks of Ms. Raje’s former ministerial colleague and Chhabra MLA, Pratap Singh Singhvi, earlier this week. Mr. Singhvi asked the BJP to announce Ms. Raje as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the 2023 Assembly election, saying she was the “most popular face” of the BJP in the State.

Significantly, the BJP has been giving importance to Ms. Raje’s detractors for the last several months and has even appointed some of them to important organisational posts. Former Minister Ghanshyam Tiwari, who had left the party over differences with Ms. Raje, was also inducted back into the party last month.

BJP State president Satish Poonia said here that the party’s parliamentary board would take a decision on projecting an individual as the chief ministerial candidate.

‘PM only face’

“No one is bigger than the party. The BJP has only one face, that of [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi,” he said at a press conference.

Mr. Poonia also distanced himself from some social media groups created for supporting him and said the messages being made viral should be “dismissed as someone’s mischief”. He said the upcoming urban local body elections in 20 districts later this month were more important, for which the BJP had started making preparations.

The BJP has tried to shift focus on factionalism in Congress in the aftermath of rebellion by the then Deputy CM Sachin Pilot and the MLAs supporting him in July last year. “The Congress is using Rajasthan to save its credibility. Its support to the agitating farmers amounts to political hypocrisy,” Mr. Poonia said.

The Congress has picked holes in the BJP’s claims of having confronted the ruling party in a united manner.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 2:52:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rajasthan-bjp-puts-up-brave-front-amid-internal-feuds/article33590807.ece

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