Jaipur: After the Congress’ brainstorming, the BJP is also going to chalk out its strategy for upcoming elections, including the 2024 parliamentary polls in Rajasthan itself. The saffron party is set to convene a meeting of its office-bearers from across the country in Jaipur, Rajasthan, on 20 May and 21 May. All the party heavyweights from across the country will be brainstorming over strengthening the organisation and prepare a roadmap aimed at “winning upcoming elections of several states and the Lok Sabha”. The meeting will be chaired by the BJP’s national president J.P. Nadda; Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually address the party workers.
The mood is upbeat in BJP after winning elections in four states, including Uttar Pradesh. What gives the party more confidence is that it has a strong and popular leader like PM Narendra Modi. No political party seems to be in a position to challenge PM Modi as of now. Still, the BJP will spare no effort to strengthen its position further, given half a dozen state polls ahead of the general elections of 2024. The two states going to polls by year end are Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat which are under BJP’s rule. Chief Ministers are unlikely to be changed in both the states. The BJP will hardly have any problem winning Gujarat again as it is the home state of PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Similarly, Himachal Pradesh is the home state of Nadda. The opposition does not seem to be posing any formidable challenge to the saffron party in these two states.
Karnataka, which will go to polls in May next year, will be a bit challenging state for BJP. Though the issues like Hijab, loudspeaker, have given the BJP an edge, corruption and factionalism are giving the ruling party anxious moments. As the assembly elections in MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan will be held six months ahead of Lok Sabha polls, the BJP is quite serious about these states as well. What BJP cannot forget is that it had lost all these three states in 2018 despite the leadership and guidance of PM Modi and Amit Shah. However, the BJP managed to form a government in MP with the support of Congress rebels. There were attempts to topple the government in Rajasthan as well. But Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was cautious enough to save his government and the ‘operation’ allegedly at the behest of the BJP could not succeed. The efforts are still on to destabilize the government even today with the help of those who had turned rebel that time, spreading rumours in the media.
What adds to BJP’s challenge in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh is that it is facing factionalism in all these three states like Congress.
MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan may have become the longest serving chief minister, but there is no end to speculation about his removal from the post as well. The high command wants to hand over MP charge to a new leader but how to do it remains to be a ticklish question. The high command will have to arrange a respectable position for Chouhan if it wants to go ahead with its plan to replace him. His name is also speculated for the post of BJP’s national president which will be vacant after the end of Nadda’s term.
At the same time, several contenders for CM post in MP are there. Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Prahlad Patel and Kailash Vijayvargiya are some of them. Half a dozen ministers are also said to be eying the top post. All this makes the decision to change CM more difficult. The Congress is banking on Kamal Nath in MP.
So, with this being the case, the BJP high command will find it difficult to single out a face for MP polls. The party is facing the biggest challenge in Rajasthan, with no unity in organization visible. So many contenders are also there for the CM post in Rajasthan. Supporters of former CM Vasundhara Raje are hopeful that the high command will choose her for the top post. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat camp is hopeful because last time his name was under consideration. Om Birla’s supporters are of the view that he may be a surprising announcement like he surprised everyone when he was chosen for the Lok Sabha speaker post. Rajasthan BJP president Satish Puniya is busy in organizational programmes single mindedly. He goes ahead with his programmes even if there is no one from the central leadership in attendance. Names of MPs like Diya Kumari, CP Joshi and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore are also doing the rounds for CM face. They are seen together on the stage when someone from high command is present there.
The biggest challenge for the leadership is Vasundhara Raje. She was seen pursuing her political course independently in the state. But the situation has undergone a change after the UP poll results.
After the resounding win of BJP, Raje’s campaign is devoid of aggression now. The high command has also asked the leaders to be united instead of vying for the CM post. The leadership has broadly decided not to project any CM candidate in Rajasthan.
Tickets will be decided in Delhi. So, no one’s pressure will work. The party will fight polls banking on the popularity of PM Modi, Amit Shah and UP CM Yogi Adityanath. Leaders will be given this message in the upcoming meeting at Jaipur.
Meanwhile, leaders such as Raman Singh and Saroj Pandey are contenders for CM post in Chhattisgarh. The BJP’s groupism is going to the advantage of the Congress.
Observers believe that the high command will manage the situation in MP and Chhattisgarh, but Rajasthan will pose a challenge. Raje will not relent there. She has set up a parallel system. The Rajasthan leaders may be given instructions separately. Women safety and law and order would be the issues the party would go ahead with. The saffron party is targeting the government in Rajasthan over these two issues.