Raj BJP tussle out in the open: Raje shows clout at birthday, Poonia at protest

Both the groups were busy calling the party workers to attend their respective programmes

Jaipur: The ongoing power tussle within the BJP in Rajasthan once again came to the fore on Saturday with two factions within the party — one headed by former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and the other by state BJP President Satish Poonia — displaying show of strength with two major programmes.

At the Salasar Balaji Dham in Churu district, Raje addressed a large gathering after offering prayers at the Balaji temple there to mark her 70th birthday celebrations, which fall on March 8 but was advanced in the wake of Holi (March 8).

On the same day, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of BJP, organised a protest march against the burning issues of frequent paper leaks and rising unemployment in the state, which was led by Poonia.

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Both the groups were busy calling the party workers to attend their respective programmes, leaving them confused.

While Poonia’s supporters were seen calling the BJP workers to gherao the CM’s house in Jaipur, those in the Raje camp called upon the BJP workers to join her birthday celebrations in Salasar.

Due to the ongoing ‘cold war’ between Raje and Poonia, the party workers were left clueless as to which faction they should support.

A leader from the Raje camp rejected the claims that she was showing her strength with her birthday celebrations, saying that the former Chief Minister did not go on a religious pilgrimage for the first time on Saturday.

On the other hand, a leader from the Poonia camp said that the agitation in Jaipur on Saturday drew party workers from all over the state, so why should it be termed as a show of strength.

According to another Raje supporter, she has been the national Vice President of the BJP besides being a two-time former Chief Minister, so many BJP workers came to greet her which does not mean that she was displaying a show of strength.

When all eyes were set to see which faction comes out stronger, a BJP MLA said that the “top party leadership should now work to end this faction”.

“We need a united party. This show of strength will prove disastrous for the BJP in Rajasthan,” said the MLA, who did not wish to be named.

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