In May 2012, Vasundhara Raje had threatened to resign from primary membership after a tussle over a proposed political yatra by Leader of the Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria, with about 65 sitting legislators offering to resign in her support.
Eighteen months down the line, all those who had stood by her have been adjusted in the first list of the Bharatiya Janta Party announced on Tuesday. There is no doubt any more who is calling the shots.
The list has 176 names for the 200-seat Rajasthan assembly. Against the traditional practice of replacing more than 40% sitting legislators, the party has given tickets to 67 sitting legislators out of the total 78.
According to party insiders, anti-incumbency and resentment against several sitting legislators was reported in three surveys conducted during the party’s Suraaj Sankalp Yatra besides an independent survey by the party high command in New Delhi. But the findings were ignored when it came to alloting tickets to those who took up cudgels against the party high command at a single gesture of their boss, “Raje”.
Not surprisingly, rebels have started targeting the party’s official candidates. As soon as the list was announced at BJP head office in Delhi on Tuesday evening, a group of party workers and supporters of former BJP Yuva Morcha Ashok Lahoti rushed to the party office shouting slogans against vice president Arun Chaturvedi who has been given the Civil Lines constituency ticket from in Jaipur.
Chaturvedi, an RSS man, was party president before Raje took over reigns in February this year.
The protests continued on Wednesday morning as well as the irate workers ransacked the party office. Terming Chaturvedi “an outsider,” the protestors demanded a review of the list and that a ticket be allotted to Lahoti who had unsuccessfully contested from the same seat in 2008. Voices of dissent have started coming from other areas including Jhalawar, home turf of Raje.
The party has changed the sitting MLA – Anil Jain -- from the Khanpur constituency and denied tickets to candidates who lost the 2008 polls, namely Ramlal Verma of Dug constituency and Shyam Sunder Sharma from the Manohar Thana constituency. Jain has said he will contest as an Independent.
Former ministers Manik Chand Surana and Laxmi Narayan Dave from Lunkaransar and Marwar Junction constituencies are also in a rebellion mood.
The candidature of Diya Kumari, member of the former Jaipur royal family, is facing opposition from party workers in Sawai Madhopur in favour of a local candidate.