The crisis in the Rajasthan unit of the BJP deepened on Tuesday following the suspension of two staunch loyalists of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
State unit chief Arun Chaturvedi suspended MLAs Rajendra Singh Rathore and Gyan Dev Ahuja from the primary membership of the BJP for anti-party activities. Chaturvedi said he taken clearance from the party high command before taking this action.
“The action has been initiated against the two MLAs for leaking information about party affairs to the media. Indiscipline cannot be tolerated,” he said.
The Raje faction of the Rajasthan BJP had been resisting her removal from the post of Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly by the party’s central leadership following the debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.
She has been asked to step down from the post by party president Rajnath Singh but has not been given any timeframe to do so. The suspensions came amid reports that Raje’s supporters were planning a signature campaign ahead of the legislature party meeting to be held next week to press the high command to let her continue as Leader of the Opposition.
Raje loyalists said on Tuesday that they would not soften their stand against her removal from the coveted post.
They also said that the high command’s direct confrontation with Raje might split the party in Rajasthan. The loyalists’ statements stand in contrast to the former CM’s remarks on Monday that she would never split the party founded by her mother, the late Vijayaraje Scindia.
State BJP president Chaturvedi said, “The two MLAs have been issued notice to explain their conduct within seven days. This will be discussed at a meeting of the state disciplinary action committee.”
Rathore however said, “We have not spoken a word against the party high command’s decision (to remove Raje from her post in the assembly). We are not aware of the reason which led to our suspension from the party.”