With petrol expected to cross Rs 100 per litre in India by the end of the year, this could be one reason why the Modi government may have preferred state polls to be held earlier than later—for global crude speculation has prices touching 100 dollars per barrel by Christmas. This could be one reason why the BJP asked all its state governments to reduce petrol and diesel prices two days before the Assembly poll schedule announcement.
BJP vs BJP in Rajasthan?
In Rajasthan, while much is being made about the infighting between Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot, with C.P. Joshi also now thrown in the mix as publication and publicity committee chief, few have noticed the goings-on in the BJP. With the tension between Vasundhara Raje and Amit Shah, the party was forced to choose a compromise face as the state BJP chief, one who belongs to neither camp—the low profile Madanlal Saini, who belongs to the same caste as Ashok Gehlot. A Rajya Sabha MP, the veteran Saini is not seen on the ground as much as in the party office and has never shared the stage with the Rajasthan CM. Interestingly, while Amit Shah had wanted Union Minister Gajendra Shekhawat as the party president, Raje had objected to his candidature perhaps fearing that Shah was grooming her successor. She had wanted her loyalist, Srichand Kriplani, a state minister, to be given the job. What is also interesting is that while Shah wants to reach out to the Rajputs, who are angered by the way the state government handled the anti-Padmaavat protests, Raje prefers to woo the Jats. Hence, while the focus may be on the Congress infighting, all is not well in the BJP camp either.
Rebel VHP leader Praveen Togadia is all set to float his own party to challenge the BJP’s Hindutva vote bank. According to sources, he may get support from the Shiv Sena, which is looking for an alternative to Narendra Modi’s BJP.