Saini appointed as BJP's Rajasthan unit president

Saini appointed as BJP's Rajasthan unit president

Rajya Sabha MP Madanlal Saini, DH photo

In an attempt to woo both Jats and the Rajput community in Rajasthan, Rajya Sabha MP Madanlal Saini who belongs to Mali community was appointed as the BJP's Rajasthan unit president, two and a half months after Ashok Parnami resigned from the post.

Saini is a former MLA and RSS volunteer who has held various posts in Bhartiya Kisan Morcha and Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh. He was also an MLA from Udaipurwati in 1990. In 1991, he contested Lok Sabha elections from Jhunjhunu and lost. In 2008, Saini again contested Assembly election but lost. It came as a surprise to many when he was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from the state of Rajasthan in April 2018.

Tough competition to Gehlot

The selection of 75-year-old Saini, an OBC candidate, is seen BJP's move to check on the caste vote swing towards Congress in Rajasthan and give its' stalwart Ashok Gehlot, who also belongs to the same community, a tough competition. 

"It took centre leadership around three months to select him but they have done justice to all the communities. Moreover, since he is a Mali, it will help the saffron party to pull vote share and fanfare of Ashok Gehlot," a source at the BJP headquarters told DH.

Other candidates in the list

Even before the name of Saini started doing rounds on Friday, the first choice of Shah for the post was the Jodhpur MP and Union minister Gajendra Shekhawat. But Raje, repeatedly conveyed to the central leadership that if Shekhawat — a Rajput — is appointed, the crucial Jat community will desert the BJP, given the history of rivalry between the two communities.

The appointment of the new BJP chief also led to a tussle between Shah and Raje. The president post was lying vacant ever since Ashok Parnami resigned on 18 April. The BJP state president of another poll-bound state, Madhya Pradesh, had also resigned along with Parnami, but his replacement was promptly appointed, making it clear that intra-party differences were delaying the decision in Rajasthan.