Kirori Lal Meena keeps his word, resigns from Rajasthan cabinet after Lok Sabha polls loss

Meena had promised to win the Dausa Lok Sabha seat and also six more in the Lok Sabha Elections, failing which he had promised to put in his papers.
Last Updated : 04 July 2024, 11:31 IST

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Jaipur: One of Rajasthan's key cabinet ministers and veteran BJP tribal leader Dr Kirori Lal Meena on Thursday tendered his resignation, months after saying that he would quit the post if the BJP loses the Dausa Lok Sabha seat.

Indicating on his X handle of keeping his word, Meena said his resignation indicates his moral responsibility of owning up to his failure to deliver the Dausa Lok Sabha seat. 

Meena had promised to win the Dausa Lok Sabha seat and also six more in the Lok Sabha Elections, failing which he had promised to put in his papers.

However, as of now there is no word from the government whether his resignation has been accepted or not. While attending a religious prayer function on Thursday, Meena said he had resigned and had met Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma over the issue. 

On June 4 after the election results, Meena had written the same lines as he has on Thursday, quoting from Ramcharitramanas, "Raghukul reet sadaa chali aayi, pran jayi par vachan na jayi. (It is a tradition of Lord Ram’s family that one will keep one’s promise even if one has to give up his life for keeping it)"

BJP lost the Dausa seat despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi doing a massive road show in support of BJP candidate Kanhaiya Lal Meena. Kanhaiya Lal lost by margin over two lakh votes from his nearest Congress party rival Murari Lal Meena.

Agriculture minister Kirori Lal Meena was given the responsibility of winning Dausa and six other seats. BJP, which had made a complete sweep in 2014 and 2019 elections, suffered a major setback, losing 11 seats this time. 

After his public announcement of resignation if he failed to deliver, Congress state chief Govind Singh Dotasra had been insisting that Meena is man of his words and would definitely resign.

Sources say Meena is supposed to have sent his resignation on June 8 and June 25 but those were not accepted. So now he has emailed his resignation letter to the Chief Minister. 

But he also reiterated that he was not angry with the party organisation or Chief Minister and he was resigning of his own accord. He said he was not aspiring for any position but expressed disappointment with his voters, for whom he had fought and protested whenever required. He said he is reigning because he failed to deliver, taking moral responsibility and that he would continue to fight for people’s rights. 

A doctor by profession, the 71-year-old Meena had been a street fighter from the beginning and almost a parallel force in terms of agitation and protests against the government.

An influential tribal leader, he has been the champion of the Meena community, especially from his native Dausa region. Tribals in Rajasthan form a formidable 13.48 per cent of the total population.

While Meenas have been traditionally Congress voters, ‘Doctor saab’ as he is fondly called managed to turn them towards BJP, winning consistently from the eastern part of the state, where there is a sizable tribal population.

From addressing press conferences and revealing Congress government’s involvement in the teacher recruitment paper leak scam and doing self-styled raids into private lockers with the media tagging along, he has been one of the most active BJP leaders before the Assembly elections in November 2023. 

Meena won his first Assembly elections in 1985 on a BJP ticket from Mahwa in Dausa district. In 1989, he won his first Lok Sabha seat. He was Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan and was made to resign and contest MLA elections. As a senior leader, he was also in the race for the Chief Minister’s post. But he was neither given the top post nor the deputy Chief minister position and not even given a plum portfolio, which also seemed to have rubbed off on him, say sources. His departments were divided, which is said to have made him angry too, although he refrained from commenting on it publicly.

But Meena has always been temperamental. He resigned from the Cabinet after a tiff with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the period between 2003 and 2008. He even quit the BJP then and joined P A Sangma led National People’s Party. His political influence and acumen can be gauged as he managed to get the unknown political party four seats in the Assembly elections in 2013.  In Raje’s second tenure from 2013, Meena constantly criticised Raje’s policies and programmes but in 2018, Meena rejoined BJP, sharing the stage with Raje, who was battling anti-incumbency then.  

Although he insists of no resentment against the present government, there are rumours of his tiff with the present education and Panchayati Raj minister Madan Dilawar over  departmental transfers of certain officials.

Meena’s resignation may spell trouble for BJP as five seats Jhunjhunu, Dausa, Khimsvar, Deoli-Uniara and Chaurasi are headed for by-polls. And Meena has been made incharge of the Dausa Assembly seat. With him out of the Cabinet, he is free to be more outspoken probably against the government too.

Published 04 July 2024, 11:31 IST

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