Gadkari, Raje set for major showdown

Gadkari, Raje set for major showdown

60 MLAs back her against rival, Kataria

The crisis in the Bharatiya Janata Party in Rajasthan, triggered by the threat of resignation by former state chief minister Vasundhara Raje from the organisation, is likely to snowball into a major showdown between her and party president Nitin Gadkari.

Vasundhara has reportedly been summoned to Delhi after her resignation threat over a 28-day Lok Jagran yatra by RSS-backed leader Gulab Chand Kataria, which was approved by Gadkari.

Though the party high command tried to downplay the rift, Vasundhara loyalists have turned the opposition to the yatra into a full-scale show of strength, which has not gone down well with party bosses. Meanwhile, resignation of MLAs in support of Raje continued even as pradhans and sarpanchs of the Mewar region joined the issue.

Many see the aggressive posture of Vasundhara loyalists as a repeat of the showdown that she had with former BJP president Rajnath Singh when he asked her to step down as Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan three years ago, owning moral responsibility for the drubbing in the Assembly elections. Raje defied the party for over six months demanding a poll among the MLAs, but was finally persuaded to resign. However, she was reinstated in the same post by Gadkari after he became party president.

Gadkari is reportedly peeved at the behaviour of the Raje camp. According to party sources, Gadkari will return to Delhi from Chandigarh only on Monday night and until then senior party leader Arun Jaitley has been asked to tackle the crisis. Thus, the scene of action has shifted to Delhi.

The party general secretary in charge of Rajasthan, Capt Singh Solanki, has already given his report to the high command. Party general secretary Kiran Maheshwari, former party president Om Mathur MP, have all reached Delhi.   

Over 60 MLAs submitted their resignation to Raje. Though the yatra was called off after Raje threatened to quit the party, her loyalists now want the party high command to declare her their chief ministerial choice, a full 18 months ahead of the assembly  elections.

Meanwhile, Kataria  in Udaipur said indiscipline and one-upmanship in the party is unacceptable. "I have toiled over 35 years to build the party in Mewar and some people’s ego should not be bigger than the party's interests," he said.

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