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RSS ideologue to be the new Rajasthan BJP president

Thursday 9 February 2006

Special Correspondent

The winner, Mahesh Sharma, was vice-president in the party executive

The president-designate is perhaps the choice of RSS as much as that of CM Vasundhara Raje who was looking for a peacetime party chief in Rajasthan The other contenders for the post included former national treasurer Ramdas Agarwal and Home Minister in the Raje Cabinet Gulab Chand Kataria

JAIPUR: The long race for the post of Bharatiya Janata Party chief in Rajasthan has ended with the party leadership settling for RSS ideologue and former Rajya Sabha member Mahesh Sharma.

The new incumbent, who originally hails from Churu in the State, has been the vice-president in the party executive headed by the outgoing president Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi.

The 57-year-old BJP president-designate in Rajasthan is perhaps the choice of RSS as much as that of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje who was looking for a peacetime (read while in Government) party chief in Rajasthan. The other contenders for the post included Mr. Chaturvedi himself, former national treasurer of BJP Ramdas Agarwal and Home Minister in the Raje Cabinet Gulab Chand Kataria, to mention the front-runners.

Only recently Mr. Agarwal, a former party president, had announced his decision to become more active in State politics.

Going by the caste considerations, the party leadership seemingly has opted a Brahmin leader as State president as his counterpart in the State Congress is also a Brahmin. As such there is an increased feeling among Brahmins in Rajasthan of being politically left out.

Of course, Dr. Sharma, a doctorate holder on Deendayal Upadhyaya and central committee member of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, has been the first and foremost choice of the Sangh. Mr. Chaturvedi, no less a follower of RSS, was traced to Barmer- where he had gone to welcome former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh on his return from a pilgrimage to Pakistan— by the party leadership in Delhi on Tuesday to seek his resignation so that the new name could be announced.

Mr.Chaturvedi stepped down rather stoically. "I have completed two years and four months- that is, I have overstayed in the post by four months. I have been considering resignation for sometime. I was happy about my tenure," he said in a statement from Barmer later.

Mr. Chaturvedi, also a member of the Rajya Sabha, had taken over the mantle from Raje after the party winning the elections in 2003. A peacetime president himself, Mr. Chaturvedi, the only senior leader to wholeheartedly welcome Ms.Raje’s appointment as Rajasthan president prior to the elections, later on developed differences with her.

Ms. Raje, who welcomed the appointment of Dr.Sharma, also thanked Mr. Chaturvedi on the occasion for his coordination between the party and the Government.

Dr.Sharma, who was in Sikar to attend a temple dedication function at Rewasa Peeth at the time of the announcement, said he would try to build up a society of Sangh ideology in the State in the days to come.

See online : The Hindu

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