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Rajasthan BJP future bleak if it ‘kills state leaders’: Raje aide who got notice for dissent

BJP has issued notice to senior leader & ex-minister Rohitashva Kumar Sharma for being critical of the state unit. He has said no BJP leader from the state can match Raje's stature.

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New Delhi: With end to dissent within the party unit in Rajasthan, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to crack down on supporters of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje who have been at odds with the local leadership. 

To begin with, the Rajasthan BJP unit has issued a notice to former minister and senior party leader Rohitashva Kumar Sharma, who is considered close to Raje.

Sharma has been critical of the state unit and had said no other leader can match Raje’s stature. 

In the notice dated 24 June, the BJP has also highlighted the fact that Sharma has accused the state unit of doing armchair politics and not visiting villages, blaming this for its loss in the assembly bypolls, the results of which were declared in May. The Congress had won Sahada and Sujangarh, while the BJP retained Rajsamand.  

“You have alleged that the way Congress has failed as an opposition at the Centre, Rajasthan BJP is in the same situation,” reads the notice. 

Sharma has now been given 15 days to respond to the notice, failing which disciplinary action will be initiated against him. 

“A notice has been issued to him seeking his reply,” state BJP president Satish Poonia confirmed to ThePrint. 

Also read: Raje, Raman, Raghubar — BJP’s ‘loser’ CMs remain party V-Ps only in name, have got no role

‘Did nothing wrong’

Sharma told ThePrint he will submit his reply after “consulting a few political leaders”.  

“They issued a notice to me and as it was from the general secretary without any mention of the state president, I assumed it was bogus,” he said. “Later on, however, I saw a media byte of state president Pooniaji wherein he said he was aware of the show cause notice issued to me. I then decided to clear my stand and will submit my reply after consulting a few political leaders.” 

He also defended his statements. 

“The issue is out in the open now. They are accusing me of indiscipline and speaking against central leaders but I would like to clarify that everything was said during a virtual meeting in front of everyone,” he said. “They then leaked the audio of that meeting. I had raised the issue of my district and had pointed out that while people were dying of Covid and lack of oxygen, both the central leaders, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Arjun Ram Meghwal, did not visit the district.” 

Sharma also said he was merely expressing his concern at the “right forum”. 

“As far as my statement about Vasundhara Raje is concerned, I still stand by it. She has been the CM for two terms and if the BJP kills its ground leaders, it can’t have a good future,” he said. “State leaders need to be nurtured and we need to allow them to grow. We saw what happened in Maharashtra and West Bengal. We didn’t have a state leader in West Bengal and hence we lost. In Rajasthan, Raje is the only leader who can lead the party to the path of victory.” 

Growing dissent in Rajasthan  

The rift in the Rajasthan BJP has been intensifying over a period of time. 

Many in the state unit have been claiming that Raje is trying to run a ‘parallel system’ with the focus only on her and not the party.

Raje herself has stopped attending most of the party’s meetings and has also not been participating in the activities organised by the state unit of the party.

In January, her supporters had formed ‘Vasundhara Raje Samarthak Manch Rajasthan’, and demanded that Raje be declared as the party’s chief ministerial face for the 2023 elections. 

According to a senior BJP leader, this is not the only time that Raje has tried to put the spotlight completely on her. During the former CM’s birthday celebration in March, he said, Raje undertook a religious visit with a huge “show of strength”. 

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

Also read: For every Himanta, there’re Scindias, Bahugunas — why defecting to BJP isn’t always a ticket to power


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