Three weeks ahead of the Rajasthan Assembly elections, the BJP is not just facing anti-incumbency sentiment, it is also struggling with protests within on selecting candidates for the contest. The party believes that such matters can be addressed by booth-level coordination and a high-decibel campaign planned during the last few days of campaigning.
Protests are mainly focused at Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Party’s State president Maradanlal Saini’s main work is to placate protesters at the party headquarters at Sardar Patel Marg. “It is a sign that we will come back to power. Acknowledging this, more party workers are applying for the ticket. We are getting a huge number of applications. But we have just 200 seats. It’s impossible to make everyone comfortable. We will convince unhappy workers that the party is bigger than the individual,” Saini said.
A similar protest was led by Gulab Nath, a district-level leader of BJP’s youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. Nath’s grievance was that the party disapproved ticket to two-time MLA from Sojat in Pali district, Sanjana Agri, and replaced her with Shobha Chouhan. “She is a popular leader. We don’t know why the party denied ticket to her. The CM must alter the decision. Else, we will defeat the party’s candidate,” Nath said. Water Resources Minister, Surendra Goyal has decided to quit the party and fight as an independent from Jaitaran, also in Pali district.
“I haven’t approached any other party. I will fight and win as an independent candidate,” Goyal told BusinessLine. A group from Sawai Madhopur marched to Raje’s house in civil lines arguing corruption in candidate selection. Saini denied such charges. “We are a democratic party. The Parliament Board is the decision-making authority. We follow a system,” he stated.
Party insiders admitted that almost two-thirds of the 162 games so far announced are Raje loyalists. “Many caste equations have been openly disturbed by the leadership. This will affect us badly,” a local leader from Jodhpur said.
BJP believes that its presence in 51,844 booths will assist. “We have a 21-member booth committee. Each member in the panel will visit 10 houses and meet the voters. No other party in the State has such a vast base,” said BJP spokesperson Vimal Katiyar.
Also, top leaders comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath will address about 100 rallies in the State during the last 10 days of campaigning. “This will ensure we retain power with a huge majority,” Saini said.