The BJP on Friday re-asserted its support to Vasundhara Raje, calling the chief minister “our tallest leader in Rajasthan” after her office denied reports that she was rallying supporters for a showdown amid growing clamour for her resignation.
The beleaguered leader is expected to attend a Niti Aayog meeting in Delhi on Saturday and could interact with the party’s top leadership during the day — a first after her name got engulfed in the Lalit Modi controversy.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who on Thursday said that “nobody is tainted”, met BJP chief Amit Shah to formulate the party’s strategy to counter the Congress’s attack against Raje and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj over the Modi row.
Read: Lalit Modi tweets about meeting Gandhis: BJP, Cong trade charges
Raje is facing flak for helping former IPL boss and close friend Modi, admitting that she had signed the witness document for his British immigration bid but asserting that she never deposed before any court in Britain.
“Did she go and depose there (in the UK)? No," said BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli. “Raje’s statement was made in 2011 in her personal capacity, not in her capacity as Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan.”
Read: Gehlot targets Raje, demands probe into Dholpur Palace, haveli deals
BJP state unit president Ashok Parnami told reporters in Jaipur that all allegations against Raje were baseless. “By leveling such allegations, the Congress is indulging in political vendetta against her and targeting decades-old family relations between her and Lalit Modi,” he said.
Sources said the central leadership, which has been hesitant so far in its defence of Raje and her parliamentarian-son Dushyant Singh, could come out with a structured response to every allegation in a day or two.
The change in tack could be attributed to Lalit Modi’s latest tweets that he met Priyanka Vadra and Robert Vadra in London, allowing space for the party to counter fire with fire, a party leader said.
In Jaipur, Raje held her Friday jan sunwai, or public hearing, with party workers, MLAs and ministers to discuss issues pertaining to their constituencies.
Since 10am, a throng of visitors was witnessed at Raje’s residence, sparking speculation of a show of strength and reports about a signature campaign by 120 MLAs in her support. The chief minister’s office denied these reports as rumour.