BJP plans govt, party rejig with eye on caste equations
The BJP that won 163 of 200 assembly seat in 2013, has lost a string of elections of the rural and urban civic bodies as well as three bypolls in the last few months.jaipur Updated: Mar 16, 2018 22:56 IST
After the Bharatiya Janata Party’s rout in the bypolls and the local bodies elections, a rejig in the government and party organization is on the cards to balance skewed caste equations ahead of the assembly elections.
The BJP government that won 163 of 200 assembly seat in 2013, has lost a string of elections of the rural and urban civic bodies as well as three bypolls in the last few months.
BJP leaders say one of the reasons for the loss was that the party failed to manage caste equations that went awry.
There were calls from some party legislators and workers for a change in the state leadership, pointing to the unrest among the party cadres. The losses jolted not only the state party leadership but also the central leadership.
BJP sources say the party’s central leadership is now taking the reins in its own hands. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje was in Delhi to get a nod for a cabinet reshuffle and her proposed statewide Vikas Yatra from April, some of them say.
Apart from the rejig, the party is sending conciliatory signals to dissenting BJP leaders and former party leaders who have a hold on different caste votes. A start was made with reinduction of Kirori Meena into the BJP, with an eye on the Scheduled Caste votes.
Senior BJP leaders from Delhi, including party president Amit Shah will travel to Jaipur in the coming months to oversee preparations for the polls that are likely to be held in December this year.
Party sources say a cabinet reshuffle is in the offing and new faces will be brought in keeping in mind the caste arithmetic. Two deputy chief ministers could be appointed, they say.
Brahmins, Jats and Gurjars will be given significant representation in the cabinet to placate the communities.
Party sources also say that state BJP president Ashok Parnami is likely to be replaced and given a cabinet berth.
The Rajputs, Brahmins and Banias, considered the backbone of the BJP, ditched the party as they felt neglected.
In addition, the Rajputs were miffed with the government over the Anandpal Singh encounter and the Padmavat episode.
Gurjars are angry with the BJP government for failing to implement the promised 5% reservation, which has been stuck in legal hurdles.
Jats who form a major part of the farmer lobby, are dissatisfied with the loan waiver and the minimum support price for crops, announced by the government.
The central leadership and RSS’s stamp was visible in the Rajya Sabha nominations. Bhupendra Yadav’s renomination was aimed at the Yadav vote that drifted away from the party in the Alwar Lok Sabha bypoll. Madan Lal Saini’s surprise nomination sent a positive signal among party cadres that an ordinary party worker was elevated. Kirori Meena’s nomination was done to woo the ST vote.
The Meena community has been traditional Congress voters. But Meena has a firm grip on the community in parts of eastern Rajasthan, an area which has presented a tough challenge for the BJP.
Apart from these changes, the party has asked ministers to visit districts and interact with the public to send a message that the government is actively working to address their concerns.
The ministers will also interact with annoyed party workers and address their issues.