The BJP flaunted its brand new import, Sonaram Choudhary, as its candidate from Barmer, Rajasthan, in a grand show attended by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and a number of party leaders.
The show of strength appeared to be a further slight to senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who has filed his papers as an independent candidate, after his party of three decades rejected him to field Col Choudhury, who quit the Congress days ago.
“We took the decision based on the feedback of party workers. I have not done any politics for myself, but for the family of Rajasthan,” said Vasundhara Raje.
“A family is a family and we have to be together. Don’t leave the party, please accept what the party does,” the Chief Minister said in words clearly intended for Mr. Singh.
Ms Raje, who recently handed the BJP a clean sweep of Rajasthan in state elections, had reportedly pitched Col Choudhury, a jat leader, as the candidate more likely to win than Mr. Singh, who wants to contest what could be his last election from Barmer as he was born here.
Mr. Singh’s supporters say it’s preposterous for a newcomer to be rewarded at the cost of a veteran.
Yesterday, the former union minister joined the club of detractors who allege that the BJP has allowed Narendra modi, its prime ministerial candidate, to eclipse all other leaders.
“NaMo NaMo is a chant for God, not humans… NaMo chant diminishes God by treating human beings as Gods,” said Mr. Singh.
Mr. Singh claimed that he had been expelled by party president Rajnath Singh on the phone for a second time, a charge the BJP has not yet confirmed.
He said that the party had earlier dialed in his eviction in 2009 over the allegation that his book cheer-leaded Mohd Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. He was taken back 10 months later at the urging of senior leader LK Advani.