BJP leaders skip Kota Rajput meet
A Rajput meet organised by BJP MLA Bhawani Singh Rajawat, as a show of strength, failed to reap the intended results on Sunday.
A three-time BJP MLA from Ladpura, Rajawat has so far been denied a cabinet berth. He had organised the meet, ‘Political future of Rajputs’, in Kota to show his political might amid growing speculations that he could be denied a ticket in the coming assembly polls in Rajasthan.
Rajawat had invited many Rajput leaders of the BJP, who don’t share cordial relations with chief minister Vasundhara Raje. However, all such leaders skipped the event.
At the event, Rajawat also extended support to Union minister of state Gajendra Singh Shekhawat for the post of state BJP president as he is a Rajput leader. Shekhawat’s name was reportedly opposed by the state BJP leadership, including Raje.
On Sunday, Rajawat had invited those BJP leaders, MPs and MLAs who are known not to share a cordial relationship with Raje or are considered dissident leaders such as BJP MLA Narpat Singh Rajput, deputy speaker of Rajasthan Assembly Rao Rajendra Singh, BJP MLA Diya Kumari and others. Rajawat had also invited Shekhawat.
Although Rajawat succeeded in gathering people from the Rajput community for the meet the invited BJP leaders chose to maintain distance from Rajawat’s event and did not turn up at the meet.
Giving a reason for their absence, Rajawat said that chief minister Vasundhara Raje had called an important meeting on Sunday so the invited leaders could not attend the meet.
“Two months have passed but no one has been appointed as the BJP state president, whereas the central party high command had put forward the name of Gajendra Singh Shekhawat for the post,” Rajawat said.
“Many people from other communities reached Delhi to oppose Shekhawat’s appointment as the BJP state chief and demanded that a Rajput not be appointed to the post,” said Rajawat. “Is belonging to the Rajput community a crime?” he asked.
Rajput leaders like Rajnath Singh and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat have remained chief of BJP in the past, he said.
“Sachin Pilot is president of Rajasthan pradesh Congress committee and belongs to the Gujjar community. There was no opposition to Pilot’s appointment from any other community, so if a Rajput becomes the state BJP chief then other communities should stand by him. This is a conspiracy to oppose a Rajput leader,” he said.
“I always ask the government and organisation to strike a balance among all castes,” he said.
Rajawat’s support to Shekhawat comes at a time when the BJP national leadership and Raje are at a deadlock over the candidature of Shekhawat, as the Raje faction reportedly does not want him as the state BJP chief.
Replying to questions on his stand if Shekhawat is not appointed the state president of BJP, Rajawat said that, “It is the feeling of the Rajput community… but it is up to the party high command to appoint Shekhawat.”
In his speech, Rajawat also remembered former vice president of India and stalwart BJP leader Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, whose son-in-law’s family does not share the best relations with chief minister Vasundhara Raje.
“We remember Pandit Deendayal Upadhaya but we have forgotten Bhairon Singh Shekhawat who brought Rajputs, Jat, Dhakar and other communities to BJP, which earlier was known as a party of Brahmins and Baniyas,” he said. “There is no building in the name of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in the state and the name of Rajasthan University should be kept on the name of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat,” he said.
“A Smriti Van (memorial garden) is proposed to be established in my assembly constituency in Kota and I will propose name it after Bhairon Singh Shekhawat,” he said.
Rajawat, who had last month said that he is feeling suffocated under the current BJP leadership for not being able to serve the Rajput community and had also criticised Raje’s son and Jhalawar MP Dushyant Singh for allegedly neglecting the Rajput community, on Sunday tried to strike a balance. “People thought that I would say something against the state government but why would I do so,” he said.
When mediapersons asked him if he had organised the meet on Sunday over speculation that the BJP may deny him a ticket in the coming assembly polls, Rajawat said that the meet was organised to showcase Rajput unity and not for seeking a party ticket.
He said that the Rajput community is not known to beg as it knows to fight for its rights.
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