While the lingering question over the weekend has been who will be the Chief Ministers of the three states that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently won — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan — it is the latter that has everyone interested like a Netflix mystery series, unfolding slowly with each season. The finale is yet to come. On Sunday, the BJP picked it’s Chhattisgarh CM-designate in Vishnu Deo Sai.
The reason everyone is obsessed about Rajasthan is that there will be no opposition from incumbent CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in MP, if a new face is given a chance for the top job just like the transition in Chhattisgarh has been smooth. But that is not something that the BJP is confident about when it comes to Rajasthan. Probably that explains why the BJP has not yet convened the Rajasthan legislature party meeting, while the other two are announced.
THE RAJE-NAMA SO FAR
First, there was an allegation that BJP MLAs Dushyant Singh, son of Vasundhara Raje, still the frontrunner in BJP’s CM race in the state, were held up in resorts. BJP MLA Lalit Meena’s father alleged that his son and five other MLAs were kept at a resort by Singh, sending out alarm bells here in Delhi.
“I had gone to take him (Lalit Meena) from ‘Apano Rajasthan Resort’. Dushyant Singh took him along. Kanwarlal, an MLA, tried to stop me,” alleged Meena while talking to reporters. He also alleged that a fight followed. Later Rajasthan BJP poll-in-charge Arun Singh and state party president CP Joshi were told about the incident, he added.
Soon, Raje sought time from the central leadership which was granted immediately. Late evening, Raje entered party president JP Nadda’s residence and the meeting between the two went on for 1 hour and 15 minutes. However, interestingly, Singh, against whom Meena levelled the allegations, accompanied his mother to Nadda’s residence. It is still unclear whether Nadda made any observations about the allegations or for that matter whether Raje was informed about any possible leadership change. Both have been tight-lipped ever since.
The meeting could have gone two ways — asking Raje to prepare to take on the post of CM once again or go along with the party’s decision to pick a fresh CM face and not to create a hindrance.
What further complicated the matter for Delhi, nearly 45 MLAs reportedly visited Raje since Monday, with some openly expressing support for her. MLAs Ramswaroop Lamba and Kalicharan Saraf said that they back Raje as the next CM. Even if the BJP goes ahead with her, such behaviour is considered indiscipline in the BJP.
DELHI GEARS UP
On its part, the BJP headquarters — 6A Deen Deyal Upadhyay Marg – has announced the names of observers for Rajasthan, along with other two states. The politically seasoned Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will oversee the election of legislature party leader who, in turn, will become the new CM. Probably realising the delicate situation, Singh’s expertise, with which he once even persuaded animated opposition parties such as the Congress and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Parliament, has been sought. This makes many pundits wonder whether a change is ‘imminent’ in Rajasthan.
The buzz in Jaipur is that the legislature party meeting can now be expected on Tuesday. But it will be decided once Rajnath Singh lands in Jaipur.
In another interesting development, Nadda spoke to party MLAs of Rajasthan on Saturday night through video-conferencing. Sources say he spoke in batches. Nadda’s speech had nothing to do with the CM’s face and more to do with winning all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the desert state and advertising central welfare schemes among people. However, a subtle message was hidden, says one MLA who attended the video-conference and spoke to News18 on condition of anonymity. “Nadda ji stressed that the party is above individual leaders and we all should abide by the party line,” he said.
In the current context, the message of holding party above individuals bears immense political significance.
If sources are to be believed, at the time of publishing this report, Rajasthan CM face was expected to be out by Tuesday. The BJP is eager to wrap up the swearing-in immediately as inauspicious ‘Malmas’ starts from December 16.
Your wait for Rajasthan’s king (or queen) will continue for two days.