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BJP appoints Gajendra Singh Shekhawat as convenor of Rajasthan Election Management Committee

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat_bccl
Shekhawat was said to be Amit Shah’s first choice to be the state BJP chief when Ashok Parnami has stepped down in April, but Raje strongly opposed his candidature.
Finally Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat gets an active role in Rajasthan elections. He has been appointed as convenor of Rajasthan’s Election Management Committee, which will execute and monitor the electoral strategy of the party. BJP state chief Madan Lal Saini will head this 16 member committee which has Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje as a member. Apart from Shekhawat, the committee also has two more union ministers - junior water resource minister Arjun Ram Meghwal as Co-convenor and junior commerce and industry minister CR Chaudhary as a member.

Shekhawat’s appointment is considered to be politically sensitive as he reportedly doesn’t enjoy good rapport with Raje. Shekhawat was said to be BJP national president Amit Shah’s first choice to be the state BJP chief when Ashok Parnami has stepped down in April this year. But Raje strongly opposed his candidature forcing the party to settled on a ‘compromise candidate’ Madan Lal Saini after more than two months of deadlock.

Raje refusal for Shekhawat’s candidature further irked the influential Rajput community, which was already said to be ‘unhappy’ with Raje over fake encounter of Anand Pal Singh, a local Rajput hero and the alleged dispute over the lock out of Jaipur royal family’s Raj Mahal Palace. The appointment of Shekhawat gains ever more significance in view of protests Raje had faced during her Gaurav Yatra in Jodhpur division, from where Shekhawat has been elected as Member of Parliament.

“Inclusion of Shekhawat and two other union ministers is a master stroke of Amit Shah. It’s the perfect social engineering for which he is known. While Shekhawat, who has a strong influence over Rajput, would be instrumental in bringing back ‘angry’ Rajputs to party’s fold, Meghwal and Chaudhary would woo dalit and Jat voters respectively for the party,” said a senior BJP functionary.

Political observers feel that the tug of war between Raje and central leadership seems to continue.

“Amit Shah has given enough hints that Raje may not get free hand in organisational matters specially related to elections. The committee has few Raje’s loyals as members but Shah has his men at the decision making. It will now be interesting how this committee works,” said Raghuveer Meena, a political analyst.

Congress on the other hand anticipates large scale bickering in the party after inclusion of Shekhawat, who doesn’t belong to Raje camp.

“It shows how much divided BJP is. Now Raje would not be left with major role in elections. Tension and dissatisfaction prevailing in party is now erupting,” said Sachin Pilot, Congress state chief.

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