The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning to field Vasundhara Raje against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot from Sardarpura seat in the upcoming state assembly elections but the former CM wants to contest from Jhalrapatan, sources said on Thursday.
Sources said that Raje is not ready to contest from Sardarpura, a seat held by Gehlot since 1998.
The BJP has kept Union Minister and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Shekhawat as its second option against Gehlot in Sardarpura as Raje wants to contest from the Jhalrapatan seat, sources said.
Raje has been representing the Jhalawar constituency in Rajasthan Assembly since 2003.
However, according to sources in Raje’s office, the party has no plans to field the former CM against Gehlot.
The BJP may also field two union ministers and four MPs against six Congress heavyweights. Rajsamand MP Diya Kumari may be pitted against Assembly Speaker CP Joshi in Nathdwara. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President JP Nadda communicated to these leaders to be ready for the big fight, sources said.
A photo of the meeting between Raje and Gehlot earlier this month created a buzz in political circles. However, Raje’s office later posted a picture in which Rajasthan Assembly Speaker Dr. CP Joshi and Leader of Opposition Rajendra Rathore apart from Raje and Gehlot.
Shah and Nadda arrived in Jaipur on a special plane on Wednesday evening and headed to the hotel near the airport for the core committee meeting.
According to BJP sources, cited by PTI, said that Shah and Nadda first held a meeting with former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje for around 15 minutes. It was followed by a meeting with senior leaders in which the party’s election strategy was discussed. Feedback on the four ‘Parivartan Yatras’ that the BJP held recently was also discussed.
Union minister and the party’s election in-charge for Rajasthan Pralhad Joshi, co-in-charge Nitin Patel, BJP’s in-charge for Rajasthan Arun Singh, state unit president C P Joshi, Union Ministers Gajendra Singh, Arjun Meghwal, Kailash Chaudhary, leader of opposition in Assembly Rajendra Rathore, deputy leader of opposition Satish Poonia and other leaders were present at the meeting, the sources said.
The meeting continued for around three hours. Poonia and MP Rajyavardhan Rathore were the first to leave the venue after the first round. Nadda and Shah held the next round of meeting with the BJP’s national general secretary (organisation) B L Santosh, Union minister Pralhad Joshi, Nitin Patel, Arun Singh, Kuldeep Vishnoi and Vijaya Rahatkar, among others, the party sources said.
With inputs from News18