Claiming that the self-respect of voters is at stake, Manvendra Singh, rebel BJP lawmaker and son of Jaswant Singh, once a minister in former Prime Minister Vajpayee's cabinet, will take out a Swabhiman rally in Rajasthan's Barmer on Saturday. In an open show of defiance Manvendra Singh, last week, indicated that whether he will stay with the BJP or not will depend on the response at his rally. He had skipped Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's Gaurav Yatra in Barmer and Pachpadra earlier this month.
Mr Singh's ties with the BJP have been strained since his father was denied a ticket in the last Lok Sabha elections. Sources say, Jaswant Singh was not given a ticket at the behest of Vasundhara Raje, who fielded Colonel Sonaram, a Congress leader who had crossed over to the BJP.
Jaswant Singh had contested from Barmer as an Independent candidate and lost to Colonel Sonaram.
"People are angry and upset; their demands have not been met. Farmers are angry. It's not about the dignity of my family but about the self-respect of the people of this entire region," Chitra Singh, wife of Manvendra Singh told NDTV.
After announcing his Swabhiman Rally on August 27, Mr Singh has been campaigning vigorously in his entire constituency of Barmer and Jaislamer. He has been meeting people from all communities, asking them to gather in large numbers at the rally tomorrow. Barmer and Jaisalmer have a sizeable Rajput, Dalit and Muslim voters, who have earlier rallied behind both Mr Singh and his father Jaswant Singh.
The state BJP is in a wait and watch mode. Minister in Vasundhara Raje's cabinet and convener of her Gaurav Yatra, Gulab Chand Katariya told NDTV, "If he wants to do something about his father's legacy there is nothing wrong but he should not do anything to harm the party."
The state BJP president Madan Lal Saini has approached Mr Singh for a discussion, reported news agency PTI. The party's Barmer unit chief, Jalam Singh Rawlot said, the Swabhiman Rally is a "social meeting" and "no political impact is expected." The BJP has also claimed that there is no resentment among the Rajputs in the state.
The party has already announced that Vasundhara Raje will be their Chief Ministerial candidate in Rajasthan again. Party chief Amit Shah, while campaigning in the state last week said, "the results in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh will set the trend for 2019 Lok Sabha polls.The BJP's victory in 2019 will pave the way for the party to rule for the next 50 years."