Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje quit as leader of the opposition in the assembly on Monday, after a meeting of the BJP legislature party ahead of the state’s Budget session.
She is likely to be rehabilitated as a general secretary in BJP chief Nitin Gadkari’s new-look central team, which will be announced shortly, party sources in New Delhi said.
Raje, who has been under pressure to quit for several months, submitted her resignation to Speaker Deependra Singh Shekhawat. Chief minister from 2003-2008, she had also resigned in October last year after being blamed for the BJP’s poor showing in the Lok Sabha elections.
But the resignation was not sent to the Speaker. On Monday, Raje said she had tendered her resignation on the direction of the party high command. Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said a meeting of the BJP legislature party would be called in “a day or two” to elect a new leader of the opposition.
Party sources in Delhi said she was “persuaded” to accept a role at the central level with the understanding that she would continue to play a key role in Rajasthan. One of her supporters may succeed her in Rajasthan as opposition leader while Arvind Chaturvedi will be confirmed as state BJP chief.
Gadkari will induct 13 more women as office bearers, in line with the BJP national council’s decision at Indore last week to amend the party constitution to include 33 per cent women in senior positions.
Kiran Maheshwari, Lalitha Kumaramangalam, Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitaraman and Sugada Pandey are likely to be on the list. Shaina N.C. and Vani Tripathi may get to play the role of the BJP’s young women faces.
Gadkari is also likely to elevate Ravi Shankar Prasad, currently BJP spokesperson, as one of its 10 general secretaries. Ananth Kumar and Thawar Chand Gehlot will be retained as general secretaries.
Other names doing the rounds are Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Vijay Goel.