The Bharatiya Janata Party’s successful campaign in the Karnataka Assembly elections has set off speculation over the appointment of a new BJP president in Rajasthan.The turn of events in the southern State is set to affect the decision in Rajasthan, with the party’s central leadership asserting its right to make the choice.The BJP’s Rajasthan unit has been without a chief for a month after Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s loyalist Ashok Parnami resigned on April 18 following the party’s defeat in the by-elections to the Mandalgarh Assembly and Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha constituencies. Raje’s discomfortThe delay in finding Mr. Parnami’s successor has also brought to light Ms. Raje’s uncomfortable relations with the party’s senior leaders. The State BJP president’s appointment has assumed significance because of the Assembly elections due later this year. Since the party chief will have a say in the distribution of tickets, the central leadership is keen that all interests are taken care of. Besides, Rajasthan will also be crucial for the 2019 general election, as the BJP had won all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in 2014.BJP national president Amit Shah has reportedly been pushing for Jodhpur MP and Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as well as Minister of State for Water Resources Arjun Ram Meghwal for the Rajasthan BJP president’s post. Ms. Raje has resisted the names of both Mr. Shekhawat, considered close to the party’s central leadership, and Mr. Meghwal.With the Raje camp insisting on the appointment of someone with “strong roots” in the State and bringing in the issue of Jat-Rajput caste rivalry, the deadlock continues.The indecisive state of affairs has also affected the morale of party workers, who are unable to render explanation to both the party’s supporters and those opposed to it.Suspense continues“This suspense will end after the political developments in Karnataka take a final shape. If the BJP is able to form the government, the central leadership will reject all objections and nominate the person of its choice in Rajasthan,” a senior BJP leader said here on Wednesday. In the event of the BJP sitting in Opposition in Karnataka, Ms. Raje is likely to have a greater say.The Chief Minister was also reportedly told during a meeting with Mr. Shah in New Delhi recently that the BJP State chief’s name would be announced only after the Karnataka election results. The move to bring forth Mr. Shekhawat’s name was seen as the party’s attempt to mollify the Rajputs who, despite being the BJP’s traditional supporters, have been opposing it on a number of issues.Other names doing the rounds with the assertion of support by Ms. Raje’s camp are Urban Development Minister Srichand Kriplani, former Minister Lakshmi Narayan Dave and Rajya Sabha MPs Bhupender Yadav and Narayan Lal Panchariya.Meanwhile, Pradesh Congress president Sachin Pilot has said that there is infighting in the BJP. He claimed that no one in the ruling party wants to be a “scapegoat” because they know that they are going to lose this year’s Assembly polls.
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