74-yr-old Kataria new LoP in Rajasthan

74-yr-old Kataria new LoP in Rajasthan

Former Rajasthan home minister and senior BJP legislator Gulab Chand Kataria. (Image courtesy Twitter)

Former Rajasthan home minister and senior BJP legislator Gulab Chand Kataria was on Sunday unanimously chosen as the Leader of Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly by the BJP during a meeting held at the party's Jaipur head office. 

The 74-year-old Kataria was selected as the leader of the BJP legislature party while seven-time MLA Rajendra Rathore was chosen as his deputy. His name was proposed by former chief minister Vasundhara Raje which was seconded by the party MLAs unanimously.

After Raje was recently made the NJP's national vice-president, both Kataria and Rathore's names were doing the rounds for the post. A few days ago, Kataria was also made the pro tem Speaker to conduct the first meeting of the newly elected Assembly.

After the meeting, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh told reporters, "Since there was only one proposal for the post, he was chosen unanimously."

Ambitious legislator

The LoP from 2002 to 2003, and again in 2013, Kataria is known to share a sweet-sour relationship with Vasundhara Raje. In 2012, calling himself as a contender for the chief minister's post, he announced to hold a rally. But he soon had to call it off as Raje threatened to quit party with 30 MLAs.

Kataria, who has a record of being an eight-time MLA, has won all Assembly elections since 1993, remaining a member of the House. A staunch RSS follower, he was first elected as an MLA in 1977, and again in 1980.

He is known for his straightforward appeal and controversial remarks. When he was the home minister in 2016, he used foul language against former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

Similarly, the new deputy leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore has earlier served as the parliamentary affairs minister in the state. Rathore has a reputation of being a 'troubleshooter' in the party, and is considered as a close aide of Vasundhara Raje.

The meeting was attended by Union HRD Minister and party's poll in-charge in the state Prakash Javadekar, national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, the party's state president Madan Lal Saini and 73 BJP legislators including Raje. He will take oath of office on Monday in presence of Governor Kalyan Singh.