April 26, 2018 7:50:31 pm
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on Thursday met BJP president Amit Shah amid a disagreement within the party over the choice of its state unit chief as she is said to be opposed to the name proposed by central leaders.
Party sources said she arrived in the national capital on Thursday and had a long meeting with Shah. The central leadership had zeroed in on Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as a replacement for Ashok Parnami, who has resigned, to lead the state unit as it prepares for the assembly polls scheduled to be held later this year, sources said. However, Shekhawat’s relative inexperience — he is a first-time MP — has prompted a pushback from state leaders with Raje said to be opposed to his choice.
Some of her government’s ministers have lobbied in Delhi for the leadership to consider other names, they said. A party leader said Shekhawat is “too junior” and this coupled with his caste — he is a Rajput — can make things fraught for the organisation in an election year. Some state party leaders have backed the choice of Srichand Kriplani, a minister in her government, as he comes from a numerically insignificant caste and his appointment would not antagonise Jats or Rajputs, two communities with strong political heft.
Union minister Arjun Meghwal, a Dalit, is also seen as a probable for the post. A string of reverses in local polls and by-polls in the state has jolted the BJP which had decimated the Congress in the 2013 assembly polls and then picked up all 25 Lok Sabha seats next year.
The party’s central leadership believes that an organisational revamp is necessary for it to make a comeback in the assembly polls. A ministerial reshuffle in the state government is also not ruled out, sources have said.