The central leadership would want the state leaders to bury differences and work collectively for Mission 2023.
New Delhi: The byelection results in Rajasthan have given the BJP lessons and sent warning bells to the central leadership which now wants unity and collective leadership in the state. In the bypolls, the saffron party not only lost the seats, but its candidates stood third and fourth in the Dhariawad and Vallabhnagar Assembly segments. Both the seats went to the ruling Congress and had strengthened the leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Sources privy to the developments told The Sunday Guardian that the central leadership of the BJP took strong note of the debacle in the state and had planned to design a new effective strategy and collective leadership in Rajasthan as the state is considered crucial in the saffron party’s scheme of things. The state of Rajasthan sends 25 Members of Parliament to the lower house.
One senior leader of Rajasthan BJP on the condition of anonymity said, “Losing the bypolls were worrying, but the more worrying thing was our candidates came third and fourth in the Dhariawad and Vallabhnagar Assembly segments respectively. We were not expecting this at all. Since the last one year the state leadership is not on the same page. State president Satish Punia and his supporters are trying to block the way of Vasundhra Raje but now the realization in New Delhi is that it is harming the interests of the party. Now only two years are left in the elections. We need to put our house in order. In view of growing assertion of the CM and Congress leadership’s indication to accommodate Sachin Pilot in New Delhi, the probability of mid-term polls has gone for a tailspin. What we need is a united house to defeat the Congress in 2023 and I believe the high command is also discussing on the same lines. We may see changes in the state unit and more space to the other faction.” After the verdict, three senior leaders and former MLAs in public demanded to give former CM Vasundhra Raje the leadership of the party in the state.
Before byelections, the Vallabhnagar was represented by the Indian National Congress while the Dhariawad seat was represented by the saffron party. In the elections former CM Vasundhra Raje didn’t campaign saying that she is looking after her daughter-in-law who is ill. Political observers believed that she was not happy with the candidates decided by the party in the bypolls.
Now with these byelections results, in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly whose total strength is 200, the saffron party had 71 Members of Legislative Assembly while the Indian National Congress (INC) had 109 members and had the support of more than 125 members.
Hemaram Joshi, a political analyst based in Jaipur who had covered the state widely said, “ Since the last two years, their was inner struggle within the party, the leadership of the BJP wanted to grow other leaders and hence appointed Satish Poonia as the president but the other faction left no stone unturned to disturb that move. In the last three years out of seven Assembly bypolls, the BJP had lost six. It is quite disturbing for the party as the Congress, which was in opposition between 2013-2018, won the majority of bypolls in the state. Now, the writing on the wall for the BJP is to fight collectively against the Congress keeping the differences aside or else in 2023 we might see something which hasn’t happened in the state in the last thirty years.” Since 1993, the state of Rajasthan had never seen any party returning to power again successively. Former MLA and senior BJP leader Prahlad Gunjan said, “Our party will introspect the outcome of the bypolls and take corrective steps for the 2023 Rajasthan Assembly polls. The high command is also following the developments in the state.”