Rajasthan BJP forms two poll panels: Raje 'ignored'
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
The BJP on Thursday announced two important committees -- the election management committee and the manifesto committee -- for the coming Assembly polls in Rajasthan. However, the name of former chief minister and stalwart Vasundhara Raje was missing from both.
In the Rajasthan BJP circle, Ms Raje, who is also the national vice president, is considered a frontrunner for the chief minister’s post if the saffron party wrests power from the Congress in the state. Speculation had been rife that the former chief minister was lobbying for the post of head of the election management committee and had met BJP top brass recently in this regard.
Other than Ms Raje, the names of Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, state unit chief and Lok Sabha MP C.P. Joshi and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly Rajendra Rathore are also doing the rounds for the CM post. Interestingly, their names are also missing from the two committees.
The omission of names, including Ms Raje's, from the key election panels is seen by many as a measure by the BJP top brass to contain factionalism, as the head of the election management committee is often perceived by the cadre as a claimant for the CM’s post.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to be the poll mascot of the BJP, which wants to avoid any discontent among its cadre or factionalism over the CM candidate issue. However, Ms Raje, Mr Joshi and Mr Rathore are likely to lead the "Parivartan Yatra" in different regions of the state later this month.
Of the two committees announced, the 21-member election management committee is headed by former MP Narayan Panchariya, while Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal will lead the election manifesto panel.
The party is expected to announce a third committee -- an election campaign committee -- for the year-end state Assembly polls in the coming weeks.
When asked about Ms Raje's non-inclusion in the poll panels, BJP state in-charge Arun Singh said she will campaign in the election.
"She is the national vice president of the party. She has a big role to play. She has been the chief minister of the state twice… She will campaign in the election. We all respect her," said Mr Singh.
BJP's state election in-charge and union minister Pralhad Joshi said both state and central leaders of the party will campaign for the crucial polls.
"Our strategy is ready. I have full confidence that people will give the mandate to the BJP and we will get a historic victory," he said.
The BJP state president made the announcement of the committees at the party office in Jaipur.
Rajya Sabha members Ghanshyam Tiwari and Kirori Lal Meena, national secretary Alka Singh Gurjar, former Assembly deputy speaker Rao Rajendra Singh, former Union minister Subhash Maharia, former state vice president Prabhu Lal Saini and Rakhi Rathore have been made co-convenors in the 25-member manifesto committee.
Former MP Narayan Panchariya will head the election management committee. Former state general secretary Onkar Singh Lakhawat, party's national spokesperson and MP Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, state general secretaries Bhajan Lal and Damodar Agarwal, former information commissioner C.M. Meena and Kanhaiya Lal Bairwal will be the co-convenors.