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After high of victory, BJP deals with lows

While they would like to savour the Karnataka victory, BJP leaders have a host of other issues to deal with at party’s two-day conclave in the capital on June 1 and 2, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: May 30, 2008 00:42 IST
Shekhar Iyer

While they would like to savour the Karnataka victory, BJP leaders have a host of other issues to deal with at party’s two-day conclave here on June 1 and 2.

They to have to consider Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje’s handling of the Gujjar agitation in Rajasthan, the rebellion of BJP MLAs in Bihar against Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, and whether Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chauhan (MP) and Raman Singh (Chattisgarh) are working to beat the anti-incumbency factors before the polls later this year.

Raje has her own ideas on how to handle the crisis. She is even said to have suggested calling for an early election by dissolving the state assembly though its term ends in January 2009. This way she feels the Congress too will feel the heat on the issue and the UPA may be forced to come with a solution to the Gujjars’ demand for ST status. “If Raje is serious about early dissolution, it’s not a bad idea as she thinks she can consolidate other castes behind the BJP,” said a senior BJP general secretary.

Other BJP leaders thought Raje’s plan was to stall the move led by Rajnath Singh for a leadership change. These leaders favour handing charge to state party chief Om Prakash Mathur, though Raje is the declared chief minister candidate for the next polls.

In Bihar, things are getting messy, as senior leaders would not like Sushil Kumar Modi, who enjoys the confidence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, to be eased out as Deputy Chief Minister. Around 30 dissident BJP MLAs are mulling en masse resignation if their demand is not met by June 3. The BJP’s parliamentary board may be called again to discuss options.

The BJP’s national executive, which will open with party chief Rajnath Singh’s address and L.K. Advani’s wrap-up message, will have three resolutions — on the political scene, the UPA’s policies, and the situation in the neighbourhood, including Pakistan and Nepal.

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the BJP would seek to project itself as the frontrunner for the next Lok Sabha polls. It will give a call for Vijay Sankalp (resolve to win the 2009 polls) and outline plans for Rashtriya Nirman (BJP’s plan for nation building).

The party will come down heavily on the Congress-led UPA government on price rise, spurt in terror attacks, farmer suicides and corruption, during the two-day meet.