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Former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje's picture on poster sparks row in BJP politics in state


JAIPUR: A major row has erupted in Rajasthan BJP over a digital poster created for a ‘Jan Samvaad’ rally to celebrate the first anniversary of the Modi 2.0 Government at the centre.

The poster displays former CM Vasundhara Raje prominently but the picture of Satish Poonia, the current BJP President in Rajasthan is missing from the poster which was created by the former Cabinet Minister in the state, Younus Khan.

The digital poster, released on Social Media by Khan who is a known Raje loyalist, has angered many BJP workers who have started trolling Khan.

The digital poster for the rally by Union Transport and Highway Minister, Nitin Gadkari, has pictures of PM Narendra Modi, BJP President J P Nadda and Vasundhara Raje printed quite prominently. But the shocking omission of current BJP Chief in the state, Satish Poonia, an RSS-backed leader, has angered a large section in the party.

Younus Khan is a key member of the group known as Raje-loyalists in the Rajasthan BJP and was considered very powerful during the previous Raje government. However, Khan was on the verge of being denied a party ticket in the last Assembly elections but due to Raje’s pressure he was finally made the BJP candidate against Congress state President Sachin Pilot who eventually emerged victorious.

An angry worker remarked, ‘‘when Poonia is the president why is Vasundhra Raje being projected in the poster when she is not holding any portfolio in the state BJP unit. We work on the directions of the PM and the BJP National President but ignoring state BJP Chief is not at all correct.’’

A defensive Khan now says, "Satish Poonia is an elected state President for all of us. But I don’t want to make any comment on whose picture is on the poster or not."

Khan’s clarification, however, has hardly pacified the state BJP Chief or his supporters. Poonia has advised Khan that no matter what one’s personal loyalties may be, everyone must adhere to party protocol. "Whichever person or leader one may like, nobody is bigger than the party or the norms of the party. Sometimes people even forget about PM Modi or Amit Shah ji. All this is about using one’s mindset in a way that all leaders adhere to the party protocol all the time. If that discipline is maintained by all leaders, there is no scope for any confusion or misunderstanding among party workers. We can all have our feelings but these must be expressed within the party decorum.’’

Ever since the BJP lost the Assembly polls in Rajasthan in December 2018, the top leadership of the saffron party has made Vasundhara Raje the national Vice President of the party in order to keep her sidelined from active politics in the state.

In contrast, in both the state BJP unit and in the central ministry, its leaders from the anti-Raje faction have been given prominence.

However, Raje herself is said to be keen to maintain her hold in the state BJP and return to state politics in an aggressive way. Her loyalists are even more keen to see her return to a greater role in Rajasthan.

In the recent Rajya Sabha elections, the fact that Raje had remained quite aloof was being discussed by political analysts and power corridors.