A warm welcome given to state urban administration minister Kailash Vijayvargiya on his first visit to Indore after his elevation as the national BJP general secretary signals a shift in the power equation within the party, feel political observers.
Reason: His elevation gives him an edge in his two decades old political rivalry with another party stalwart Sumitra Mahajan, who had earlier stolen a march in the power race by getting elected MP from Indore eight times and finally becoming the Lok Sabha speaker.
Vijayvargiya wielded a considerable influence over the state politics ever since the BJP came to power in MP in 2003 by holding important portfolios as industries and commerce and PWD, and information technology minister at different times.
But, what irked him was not having a hold in the national politics while Mahajan had, who was union minister of state in the A B Vajpayee’s cabinet.
Their rivalry peaked during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections when Vijayvargiya and his aides refused to work for her in Indore assembly constituency-two which he represented earlier and where he still resides.
Mahajan won the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, but she didn’t get as many votes from here as she had been getting earlier, observers say indirectly hinting at the influence Vijayvargiya exerted then.
Another reason, they say, was when Mahajan apparently exercised her influence within the party and Vijayvargiya was given the ticket from the Mhow assembly constituency in 2008 from where he didn’t want to contest.
However, he gradually rose in power within the party and came to be known as the second most powerful politician in Madhya Pradesh after chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Observers say the only small downslide on the totem pole he had when he just managed a win in 2013 assembly polls with a thin margin and his son Akash’s firm came under the income tax department survey.
However, his proximity to national BJP president Amit Shah gave him the much-needed push which came as his being made in-charge of the 2014 Haryana assembly elections which the BJP won by a clear majority.
And another lift came when he managed his way to becoming the party’s national general secretary.