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Dissension in Rajasthan BJP refuses to die down
Kamla Bora in Jaipur |
April 26, 2003 23:40 IST
Dissensions in the Rajasthan unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party have come to the fore again, making it obvious that state unit chief Vasundhara Raje has still not been accepted by all in the organisation.
The latest salvo against Raje was fired by none other than BJP national treasurer Ramdas Agrawal who publicly asked why a Rajput should always be the party's chief ministerial candidate in the desert state.
The BJP is projecting Raje, a Rajput, as its chief ministerial candidate in the assembly elections in the state later this year. During three earlier BJP-led governments in the state, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, also a Rajput, always occupied the chief minister's office.
Agrawal was also referring indirectly to the dominance of Rajputs in the race for chief ministership -- Uma Bharti in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and Dilip Singh Judev in Chhattisgarh -- in the coming polls.
Agrawal also took up the cause of the trading community that has always supported the BJP, saying the Vaisya community is not being given adequate representation.
He said he resigned a few days ago as president of the all-India organisation of the Vaisyas for his failure to fight for their cause within the BJP despite being a committed party worker.
But three senior state leaders of the party came out sharply against Agrawal rejecting his charges.
In a joint statement Satya Narain Gupta, general secretary of the state BJP, Kalicharan Saraf, its chief spokesman, and Chandra Raj Singhavi, political adviser to Raje -- all, incidentally, belonging to the Vaisya community -- denounced Agrawal saying that if he had any personal problems in the party he should have spoken within the party.
They pointed out that as many as five members of the state executive and 24 members of the working committee belong to the Vaisya community and there are three Vaisyas in the Union government. So, it is wrong to suggest that the party is neglecting Vaisyas.
Meanwhile, Agrawal and two other senior leaders, Ghanshyam Tiwari and Hari Shankar Bhabhra, are skipping the first major political programme of the 'Parivartan Rath Yatra' being undertaken by Raje from Sunday to gear the party for the assembly polls.
Agrawal said he will not be able to participate in the ceremony in the temple town of Charbhuja in Rajsamand district on Sunday, where Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani will flag off the yatra, as he is leaving on a foreign trip.
Tiwari and Bhabhra said they will be busy in a Brahmin rally in Jodhpur where Brahmin leaders from all political parties are joining hands to get reservation benefits for their community.
Political observers believe that the efforts by BJP general secretary Pramod Mahajan, who recently talked tough against the dissidents in Rajasthan, are already wearing off.