BJP may pick Rajasthan unit chief today

BJP may pick Rajasthan unit chief today

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, file photo

With Raje playing hardball and having rejected the names suggested by the central leadership, Ashok Parnami's replacement could not be found even after nearly two months since he quit on April 18. The last meeting to resolve the stalemate was held in BJP headquarters in New Delhi on April 26 in which Raje had put her foot down to the central leadership's choice—Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

During 2013 assembly polls, Raje had got the party declare her both the CM face as well as the party state chief. Two months after the party under her leadership romped home, her close confidant Parnami was made the BJP chief.

Saturday's meeting could be held at the residence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to thrash out differences. It will be attended by BJP President Amit Shah, national organisational secretary Ram Lal, joint general secretary (Organisation) V Sathish and general secretary Bhupendra Yadav.

It is learnt that Shah has broached the issue with RSS and both BJP's top leadership and RSS are in no mood for any further delay in the appointment party chief for the state, where BJP lost in bypolls recently.

There is a perception that Opposition Congress is gaining ground in Rajasthan, which is a switch state and generally changes the party in power every five years.

The chorus for the exit of Parnami, who had served in the post for nearly four years, had grown soon after BJP's reverses in bypolls for two Lok Sabha seats Alwar and Ajmer and one assembly seat Mandalgarh in February this year. All three seats were won by Congress.

Rajput-Jaat rivalry

While the party announced the appointment of new state chief for Madhya Pradesh on April 18 itself, a replacement for Parnami has eluded the party in Rajasthan till date.

The party has to also reconcile the traditional Rajput-Jaat rivalry in Rajasthan politics. After speculation gained ground around Shekhawat's name, two Jaat leaders of BJP, Devi Singh Bhati and Sonaram Choudhary, had voiced their opposition.

Other names that had been doing the rounds for the new BJP chief in Rajasthan are Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, a prominent Dalit face of the BJP in the state, Laxminarayan Dave, a prominent Brahmin leader, and Srichand Kriplani, who belongs to Sindhi community.