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Vasundhara Raje Excluded: BJP Unveils Two Rajasthan Poll Panels

BJP excludes Vasundhara Raje from key Rajasthan election committees, signaling a significant shift in party strategy.

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Vasundhara Raje Excluded: BJP Unveils Two Rajasthan Poll Panels
Vasundhara Raje (Himanshu Vyas/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Jaipur: the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command has dealt a significant blow to former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia by excluding her from two crucial committees for the upcoming Rajasthan elections. The announcement was made by Rajasthan BJP State President CP Joshi on Thursday. The committees in question are the manifesto committee and the election management committee for the upcoming Rajasthan assembly polls.

Notably absent from the list were the names of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and any of her prominent supporters, fueling renewed speculations that the BJP high command has deliberately chosen to proceed with the upcoming assembly elections without Raje’s involvement.

This exclusion comes as a major setback for Vasundhara Raje and her loyalists, who had been actively demonstrating their support for the last two years and demanding her declaration as the Chief Ministerial face for the upcoming elections.

Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal has been appointed as the Chairman of the Manifesto Committee, while Narayan Pancharia will lead the Election Management Committee. The Rajasthan elections are just four months away, and attention now turns to whether the BJP will find an alternative role for Raje. Nonetheless, this move is a significant jolt for Raje and her dedicated followers.

The Manifesto Committee, chaired by Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, includes MPs Ghanshyam Tiwari and Kirorilal Meena, along with National Ministers Alka Gurjar, Prabhulal Saini, and Rakhi Rathod as co-convenors. Meanwhile, the Election Management Committee is led by Narayan Panchariya, with co-convenors like Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, CM Meena, Kanhaiyalal Bairwa, Rajendra Singh Shekhawat, and Anand Sharma.

In response to inquiries about Vasundhara Raje’s role, the state president emphasized the active participation of numerous senior leaders in the party’s campaign. State party in-charge Arun Singh avoided clarifying Raje’s role but acknowledged that all senior leaders would be involved in campaigning.

Party’s state president CP Joshi and state in-charge Arun Singh stated that these committee appointments were made following the instructions of national president J P Nadda. They expressed hope that the state would benefit from the experience of both committees in the upcoming elections.

The move to exclude Vasundhara Raje from these key committees comes after she was recently assigned the role of National Vice President within the party. This decision, occurring in an election year, was interpreted as a signal that the high command aimed to keep Raje away from Rajasthan. In response, Raje engaged in discussions with key leaders during a two-day visit to Delhi.

The strained relationship between Raje and the party’s high command traces back to 2014. During the tenure of Home Minister Amit Shah as the national president of the BJP and Raje as the chief minister, conflicts between the two leaders were common. Following the BJP’s defeat in Rajasthan in 2018, Raje’s absence from crucial party events became noticeable. The high command’s intentions became evident when Rajendra Rathore was appointed the Leader of the Opposition in place of Raje.

This development marks the first time in decades that the BJP refrained from announcing its chief ministerial candidate in Rajasthan. Vasundhara Raje’s strong association with the BJP in the state and her significant support base among MLAs and MPs have raised concerns that sidelining her might lead to backlash from both Raje and her supporters. This raises the crucial question of whether Prime Minister Modi alone can bolster the BJP’s influence in Rajasthan, especially in light of Chief Minister Gehlot’s efforts to solidify his position through populist initiatives.

Meanwhile, Raje’s loyalists note that while her exclusion is surprising, other senior leaders like Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, opposition leader Rajendra Rathore, former BJP chief, and current party President C P Joshi have also been left out. One of Raje’s supporters pointed out, “Nobody can ignore Vasundhara Raje; after all, she is the most popular mass leader of the BJP in Rajasthan, so wait and watch.”

The announcement of the campaign committee is still pending, serving as the third major committee after the resolution declaration and the election management committee. Traditionally, the coordinator or chairman of the campaign committee becomes the official face of the party for the election. Experts caution against premature speculation without the announcement of this committee.

Bengaluru

Siddaramaiah Considers NIA Probe for Rameswaram Cafe Blast

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah discusses potential NIA involvement in the investigation of the Rameswaram cafe blast.

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Siddaramaiah Considers NIA Probe for Rameswaram Cafe Blast
(Chief Minister Siddaramaiah | Photo - X/@CMofKarnataka)

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah addressed concerns regarding the Rameswaram cafe blast, emphasizing the government’s commitment to ensuring a thorough investigation. The blast, which occurred at a popular eatery in Brookfield on March 1, left 10 people injured and sparked demands for a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe.

Siddaramaiah acknowledged that the Central Crime Branch (CCB) was currently handling the investigation. However, in response to the BJP’s call for an NIA inquiry, he stated, “We will consider it if necessary. The investigation is underway, and no suspects have been apprehended yet.”

The Chief Minister also criticized the BJP’s attempts to politicize the incident, particularly referencing their accusation of labeling Bengaluru as ‘Bomb Bangalore’ instead of ‘Brand Bangalore.’ He pointed out previous bomb blasts that occurred during BJP’s rule and questioned their accountability during those instances.

Addressing concerns over public safety, Siddaramaiah stressed the seriousness with which governments approach such incidents. “Bombings are never trivial matters. Our priority is always the safety and security of the public,” he affirmed.

He further challenged the BJP to refrain from politicizing the issue and instead focus on supporting efforts to ensure justice and prevent future incidents. “While I condemn the act of bombing, it is crucial that we do not engage in political gamesmanship at the expense of public safety,” Siddaramaiah emphasized.

In conclusion, Siddaramaiah’s remarks underscored the government’s commitment to a thorough investigation into the Rameswaram cafe blast and their willingness to consider involving the NIA if deemed necessary. He reiterated the importance of prioritizing public safety above political agendas, urging all parties to work together towards this common goal.

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Mangaluru

Bhandara Mane Demolition: Three Arrested in Ullal, Karnataka

Three arrested in Ullal for the demolition of an under-construction Bhandara Mane near Kondana Daivasthana. Get insights on the incident, legal actions, and reactions.

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Bhandara Mane Demolition: Three Arrested in Ullal, Karnataka
Photo:tv9kannada

in Ullal, Karnataka, three individuals have been apprehended by the Ullal police regarding the demolition of an under-construction “Bhandara mane” near the revered Kondana Daivasthana. Commissioner of Police Anupam Agrawal identified the arrested individuals as Muttana Shetty, Dheeraj, and Shivraj.

Bhandara Mane:

The Kondana Daivasthana, overseen by the endowment department, witnessed the unlawful demolition of the Bhandara mane structure, located on government land adjacent to the Daivasthana premises. Miscreants utilized an earthmover to carry out the demolition during the early hours of Sunday morning.

Following a complaint lodged by Kotekar TP Chief Officer Anand, the police initiated legal proceedings under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Karnataka Prevention of Destruction and Loss of Property Act. The sections invoked include IPC Sections 143, 147, 148, 295, 427, along with Section 2A of the aforementioned Karnataka Act.

Interrogation of the arrested individuals revealed that the Bhandara mane construction lacked proper authorization, having been erected without consent from the Daivasthana’s 16 ‘gurikararu.’ Despite complaints to authorities like the Assistant Commissioner and Tahsildar, no corrective measures were taken, prompting the accused to take matters into their own hands.

Expressing dismay over the incident, U T Khader, Assembly Speaker and representative of the Mangalore Assembly constituency, condemned the demolition. He emphasized the significance of preserving religious structures and directed law enforcement to swiftly act against the perpetrators.

The demolition of the Bhandara mane stands as a somber event tarnishing the district’s reputation, prompting calls for justice and stricter enforcement of property laws. Stay tuned for further updates as the legal proceedings unfold in this case.

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Bengaluru

JP Nadda will reach Karnataka on Monday on a two-day visit.

BJP national president J P Nadda’s two-day visit to Belagavi includes public engagements and organisational meetings.

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JP Nadda will reach Karnataka on Monday on a two-day visit.
File Photo: JP Nadda

BJP national president J P Nadda is set for a significant two-day visit to Belagavi, Karnataka. Scheduled from Monday onwards, his visit encompasses a series of public engagements and crucial organisational meetings. On Monday, he is expected to arrive at Sambra Airport, Belagavi at 08.30 pm. The itinerary kicks off with a core committee meeting for Chikodi, Belagavi, Bagalkot, and Vijayapura parliamentary constituencies at Kakati, Belagavi at 09.00 pm.

The following day, Tuesday, holds various important events. At 11.15 am, Nadda will address the booth karyakarta sammelan at Kiwad Ground, Chikodi. This will be followed by an interaction session with beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Swanidhi Yojana at ITC Welcome Hotel in Belagavi at 02.15 pm. Later in the day, at 05.15 pm, he is scheduled to interact with intellectuals at Jirge Auditorium in Belagavi.

The visit underscores BJP’s commitment to engaging with local communities and strengthening organisational structures. Stay updated on J P Nadda’s visit to Belagavi for insights into the party’s strategies and engagements.

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