Jaipur: The crisis in Rajasthan unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues. While resignations of Vasundhara Raje loyalists are pouring in - over 50 MLAs have now resigned in support of Ms Raje - the BJP high command is trying to downplay the rift that erupted over a 28-day-long Lok Jagran Yatra planned by RSS-backed leader Gulab Chand Kataria.
Though the yatra was called off after Ms Raje threatened to quit the party, her loyalists now want the party high command to declare her as their Chief Ministerial choice - a full 18 months before the Rajasthan elections. The RSS faction, however, is totally opposed to the move.
The issue is also threatening to snowball into a major showdown between the BJP high command and its state unit. There are reports that Ms Raje has been summoned to Delhi after she threatened to resign over the yatra which was approved by BJP president Nitin Gadkari. Sources say she is likely to defy any summons by the party top brass.
Many see the aggressive tones of Raje loyalists as a re-run of the showdown that she had with former BJP president Rajnath Singh when he asked her to step down as Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan three years ago. And with her loyalists turning the opposition to the yatra into a full-scale show of strength for Ms Raje, a Gadkari-Raje face off is the nightmare that confronts the BJP which has now asked Arun Jaitley to pacify Ms Raje and resolve the crisis.