Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president Amit Shah will arrive in Jaipur late on Wednesday to chair a meeting with the core group of 3446/">Rajasthan BJP. Sources have said the BJP’s screening committee is putting the final touches to the first list of candidates for the Assembly elections scheduled later this year and the list is likely to be out later this week following a meeting of the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) in New Delhi.
The party is facing a tough battle to win back power in Rajasthan and the state unit is faction-ridden, more than in the other Hindi heartland states where polls will be held. Shah and Nadda will look to set the party’s house in order after reports emerged of its recent Jan Aakrosh Yatra rallies drawing thin crowds. The Congress is looking stronger than before as the truce between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who kickstarted a nine-day yatra during the day, and former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot continues to hold in the run-up to the elections.
As the BJP goes into a huddle, the crucial questions before political observers are:
* Will the BJP follow its Madhya Pradesh strategy and field central leaders?
* Will Vasundhara Raje get a more prominent role?
If central leaders are fielded to paper over the cracks in the state unit, it will be another strong signal to Raje, a two-time CM, that she is not likely to be the CM front-runner. The central leadership has so far maintained that the BJP will go with collective leadership in the state while projecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi prominently as the party’s face. But a section of the party is pushing for Raje to be given a more prominent role as she is arguably the most popular BJP leader in the state.
Last month, the BJP did not include Raje in two crucial election panels — the manifesto and election management committees. However, the committees also do not have However, neither of panels also named those apart from Raje who are considered CM aspirants, namely Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in Assembly Rajendra Rathore, and former state president Satish Poonia.