- Ms Raje was made BJP national vice-president, not leader of opposition
- Little is known about her role in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections
- BJP central leadership made Gulab Chand Kataria leader of opposition
Shortly after the BJP went down from 164 legislators to 73, the party's central leadership appointed former home minister Gulab Chand Kataria as the leader of the opposition in the Rajasthan assembly. They decided against going with former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, preferring to make her the ruling party's national vice-president instead.
Judging by these developments, the BJP appears keen on setting up a new leadership structure in states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan - whose former chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh have been around for over a decade and a half. Mr Kataria's name was proposed by Ms Raje herself and seconded by other BJP legislators. Her close aide - Rajendra Rathore - was given the deputy opposition leader's post in an attempt to balance power equations.
Little is known about the role likely to be played by the former chief minister in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. She, nevertheless, made it amply clear at a party legislators' meet that she wouldn't be giving up on Rajasthan that easily. "I want to assure you that we will remain here and work together for the next milestone that's the 2019 elections. We will do very well in that," Ms Raje said.
While the BJP's central leadership decided to make Mr Kataria - an RSS favourite - the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, it didn't want to step on the former chief minister's toes. "Vasundharaji is a popular face not only in Rajasthan but across the country. As national vice president, she will strengthen the party both inside and outside the state," said BJP general secretary Arun Singh.
While Ms Raje seems placated for now, the real indication of who's in charge will come to light when a decision is made on the state party president.
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