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Friday, September 24, 2021

Rajasthan: BJP infighting out in open, MLA targets Kataria, later backs down

Meghwal changed his stand after meeting BJP national general secretary and state in-charge for Rajasthan, Arun Singh, on Wednesday evening at the party headquarters in Jaipur.

Written by Deep Mukherjee | Jaipur |
Updated: September 9, 2021 5:23:07 am
Kailash Meghwal, Gulab Chand Kataria

A day before the Monsoon Session of the state Assembly, senior BJP MLA Kailash Meghwal – a known supporter of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje – did a volte-face on Wednesday – first by saying that he would bring a censure motion against leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria for his comments on Maharana Pratap and Lord Ram but later retracting his stand after meeting the central leadership.

Meghwal changed his stand after meeting BJP national general secretary and state in-charge for Rajasthan, Arun Singh, on Wednesday evening at the party headquarters in Jaipur.

In his letter to Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia on September 4, Meghwal had also referenced a 10-page letter addressed to Nadda, in which he has levelled multiple allegations against Kataria.

Meghwal said that the saffron party’s electoral fortunes in the last three bypolls have suffered due to Kataria’s statements.

Kataria had issued a statement saying he will accept any decision the party takes on the subject and refrained from speaking on the matter further.

Thereafter, a meeting transpired between Meghwal, Singh and Poonia at the party headquarters, following which Meghwal changed his stand.

“We have held a detailed discussion. We will work in the interest of the party, take it forward. That is why I have abandoned the idea of bringing the censure motion tomorrow. We have to be united and fight the Congress,” Meghwal told reporters after his meeting with Singh.

Among other things, Meghwal had alleged in the letter that Kataria had a long-standing feud with late Kiran Maheshwari – the former MP and MLA from Rajsamand whose death necessitated the bypolls in the Assembly constituency earlier this year.

“Kiranji’s daughter, Deepti, was in the race for the ticket for Rajsamand and Katariaji opposed her in every way, but despite that, the ticket was given to Deepti. Katariaji hatched a conspiracy to defeat Deepti and a part of it was the insulting sentence against Maharana Pratap in his speech,” the letter adds.

During the run-up to the bypolls, Kataria had said in his speech, “did a mad dog bite Maharana Pratap that after leaving his capital and home, he had to move to hillocks, crying?” a statement which resulted in protests by Rajput outfits.

An MLA from Shahpura in Bhilwara district, the 87-year-old Meghwal is a multiple time legislator, MP and minister and the seniormost member of the Rajasthan Assembly.

In his letter, Meghwal claimed that the winning margin in Rajsamand for Deepti was reduced to 5,310 – considerably lower than the outcome of the previous elections – due to Kataria’s statement.

“Under his protection, misappropriations to the tune of lakhs and crores of rupees take place in distribution of party posts and tickets. In political circles and in public, there are talks about how the opposition is being unsuccessful in effectively raising issues related to problems faced by the public and matters of their welfare in the Assembly,” Meghwal has said in his letter.

Some BJP leaders had expressed their support for the leader of the opposition.

“We, the members of the legislative party, are fully satisfied with the working method of Kataria ji. I am fully hopeful that let alone accept any such censure motion, the party MLAs will not even hold discussions on it,” said BJP deputy leader of opposition Rajendra Rathore, in support of Kataria.

State in-charge Singh had said after landing in Jaipur on Wednesday: “Yes, if there are such statements made, they result in damaging the party. Since the past few months we are taking cognisance of every statement and noting them. In the right time, the party will keep in mind such people… Whenever such statements appear, the party is not going to keep it in cold storage.”

He added that he had heard about Meghwal’s letter. “I will definitely speak on this. He is a very senior person. But one should keep this in mind that the party is above all and the party’s interests shouldn’t suffer. There are lakhs of workers who have not got anything but are always working for the party. Those who have got posts such as that of MLA, MP, when such people speak, then the workers do feel hurt. One should not think about himself but about the party,” said Singh.

Earlier this year, Meghwal was among the 20 MLAs loyal to Raje who had written to Poonia, alleging bias in Assembly proceedings.

Her supporters have also been vocal, often issuing statements to assert that she is the tallest leader of the party in Rajasthan highlighting divisions within the party, which in recent times have awarded known detractors of Raje with plum posts.

The Monsoon session of the Assembly is set to start from Thursday.

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