After the denial of ticket to Jaswant Singh, a member of the Rajput community and a former Union minister, BJP cadres and members of the community across Rajasthan are incensed, says Shahnawaz Akhtar
With veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jaswant Singh on the edge of declaring an open revolt against the party -- and making the infighting in the saffron party’s Rajasthan unit public -- chances of the ruling party winning all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state seem difficult.
In the wake of the thumping victory of the BJP, led by Vasundhara Raje, in the Rajasthan assembly polls, the party had grandly declared that it would win all 25 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.
But the BJP’s decision to give the Barmer Lok Sabha poll ticket to Colonel Sona Ram Choudhary, a former Congress leader, instead of veteran leader Jaswant Singh has rocked the BJP’s electoral boat.
Singh is not the only BJP leader miffed at the party’s top leadership.
Senior leader Ghanshyam Tiwari, who had won the assembly polls with a record margin, has been denied a ticket from Jaipur Urban constituency.
“The BJP is doing hara-kiri in Rajasthan. They are committing suicide. After the Jaswant Singh episode, the Rajput community is very angry with Raje. Her gamble of fielding a Jat leader from Barmer seat may boomerang as the Jat community is not divided in Rajasthan but Rajputs have always been more close to the BJP,” pointed out senior journalist Om Saini.
After the denial of ticket to Singh, a member of the Rajput community and a former Union minister, BJP cadres and members of the community across Rajasthan are incensed.
To protest the denial of ticket to Singh, they locked up the district party office in Barmer, burnt effigies and tore posters of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and party president Rajnath Singh.
“Along with Jaswant Singh, denial of ticket to Ghanshyam Tiwari and wrong candidate selections in Sikar, Alwar and Dausa and several other seats have lessened the chances of the BJP’s victory in the state,” said Saini.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who had actively wooed the minority community in the state during the assembly polls, did not field a single Muslim leader for the Lok Sabha elections.
“The BJP seeks Muslim votes but does not want to give them representation in the assembly or the Parliament,” said Ashfque Kayamkhani, a social activist.
Several senior BJP leaders have been denied a ticket in the state as some candidates were reportedly decided by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh while some others were chosen at the behest of the party’s new-found friend Baba Ramdev.
The BJP’s candidates from Sikar and Alwar constituencies, who have faced protests from their own party members, had been reportedly chosen after receiving the yoga guru’s blessings.
But party leaders are still hopeful about ‘Mission 25’ and they believe that ‘small issues’ like disgruntled veteran leaders and angry party workers will not stand in the way of the BJP’s success..
“There is the Modi wave. Vasundhara Raje has already crated an impact with her work in the last three months so all these small issues will not have much effect,” claimed state BJP spokesperson Vimal Katiyar.
Image: BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi with Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and BJP President Rajnath Singh