A truce between former chief minister Vasundhara Raje and her detractors in the wake of the BJP’s defeat in Rajasthan may appear shaky, but senior party leaders are not giving up.
Citing the coming Lok Sabha polls as the main challenge, senior leaders, including LK Advani, Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu, have been speaking to Raje and Rajasthan BJP chief Om Mathur to bring about rapprochement.
For second day on Sunday, the two leaders had a long session with Naidu, analysing the assembly results. They also met Advani, who is keen that the leaders bury their “misunderstanding” and begin afresh.
Raje would like to stay put in Rajasthan and play her role as leader of Opposition, which is also favoured by Advani and other senior BJP leaders, who believe she is a popular leader and her government performed well.
Many state leaders, some of whom were ministers in the BJP government, however, think this is right time for change. They are upset with Raje’s style of functioning, which they think led to a wide chasm between the party and the government.
Raje’s stand is that the party did not lose on account of any anti-incumbency factor but because of the rebels. Many candidates who got ticket on her recommendation had won.
Central BJP leaders are impressing upon Raje, Mathur and local leaders that the party must first focus of winning the Lok Sabha polls from Rajasthan, which has 25 seats. The BJP holds 21 of them.
Mathur offered to step down as state BJP chief after the results, but was told by Naidu that the party believed in “collective responsibility” and not in “individual responsibility”.
Naidu told HT: “Our challenge is the Lok Sabha polls. We have to bring greater coordination between the party and its legislature wing for optimum results.”
A final call on Raje’s future is likely to be taken on Monday.