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BJP in Rajasthan: More Trouble After Brahmin Heavyweight’s Exit

Ghanshyam Tiwari is considered a leader of Brahmins who constitute around 14-15 percent of voters in the state.

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The BJP, which is already facing anti-incumbency in Rajasthan, has been jolted by a senior BJP leader Ghanshyam Tiwari deciding to quit the party just few months before state assembly elections. The desert state is likely to see polls in November/December this year.

Ghanshyam Tiwari, a Brahmin who has an RSS background, shares a strong relationship with some of Sangh top leaders. He has decided to contest the elections under the banner of 'Bharat Vahini Party', which was formed by his son Akhilesh. The newly formed party plans to field candidates in all the 200 Assembly constituencies.

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Brahmin Blockade to BJP

Tiwari is considered a leader of the Brahmins who constitute around 14-15 percent of the total voters in the state. They can make a difference in at least 30-35 out of the total 200 assembly seats. Not only this, he is also likely to hurt BJP in certain pockets where some of the RSS workers might support his candidates.

Ghanshyam Tiwari has been very critical of the functioning style, policies, and programmes of the chief minister Vasundhara Raje ever since the BJP came to power. 

He has raised various issues of public interest, like corruption, during the different assembly sessions as well as reservation for the economically backward section of general caste. He plans to approach voters requesting them to vote for the party which will fight for their issues.

He is also banking on support from other castes like Rajputs and Vaishyas. Luring dissatisfied leaders from the BJP and the Congress to fight polls under his banner is likely to strengthen his position even further.

Third Front in Rajasthan

Despite Tiwari’s aggressive stance, it is difficult to say what difference his party will make in the state politics as Rajasthan has always seen a two-party system. The voters have largely chosen between the BJP and the Congress. Formation of a third front has been tried here quite a few times, but the idea has failed to evolve and flourish. What is certain, however, is Tiwari’s ability to make a dent in the BJP votes.

Moreover, there are speculations that he might join hands with an independent MLA Hanuman Beniwal. The latter is an emerging Jat leader who is quite popular in Nagaur, Barmer belts, and, to some extent, in Bikaner. This Jat-Brahmin combination might hurt both the BJP and the Congress, as Jats have traditionally been Congress supporters.

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BJP Says “All is Well”

The BJP, however, thinks otherwise. “I do not think it will make any difference. It will not affect the party in any way. We have been patient. He has chosen to resign. His resignation will keep the party more disciplined. It is a good message for the party workers that whosoever indulges in indiscipline has no place in the party,” Ashok Parnami, former president of the Rajasthan BJP said.

“You have already seen with leaders who earlier left BJP….where are they now…either they are back or are leading a solitary life,” said a BJP functionary on the condition of anonymity.

The Congress has another point of view. Archana Sharma, vice president and media chairperson of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee, said that resignation of Ghanshyam Tiwari from the BJP speaks about how senior leaders are being treated in the party.

“Tiwari Ji might be able to garner some sympathy votes of the Brahmins as they will feel that he has not been given due respect by the BJP and it will hurt the BJP,” said another Congress leader.

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(The writer is a Jaipur-based senior journalist and political analyst. He can be reached @anilsharma45.)

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