Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is close to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah and he was once almost tipped to become the party’s state unit president when the BJP was in power in 2017 in the state, but his crowning was stalled by Vasundhara Raje. Ever since then, Raje and Amit Shah have been at loggerheads.
Raje was also bitter with the central leadership as her son, Dushyant Singh, a three-time MP from Jhalawar, was not made a Union minister, while a much junior Bhupendra Yadav got a berth.
Yadav was groomed by Raje and was sent to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan. He is basically from Haryana and studied in Ajmer and is being groomed as a leader of the Yadav community. Meghwal, a retired IAS officer, is from the scheduled caste community and was elected from Bikaner.
Punia comes from Churu district and was elected as MLA from Amer, a suburb of Jaipur, but he is not much accepted as a Jat leader within the community. But he is ambitious and is backed by some central leaders as an alternative to Vasundhara Raje.
What is puzzling is the lack of clarity in the minds of the BJP’s central leadership. Initially, the central leadership tried to groom Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat with a double-edged intention. Since he comes from Jodhpur, the BJP tried to project him against Ashok Gehlot and when he defeated Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot in the last Lok Sabha elections, he thought he would become the first choice of the BJP central leadership as the party’s CM face, but nothing of the sort happened.
Meanwhile, the elevation of Bhupendra Yadav as a Union minister suddenly saw a change in stance and he was sent to the state on a three-day mass contact mission. Yadav clearly said that he is not an aspirant for the Chief Ministership. He surprised the party’s cadre by issuing a statement that the next Assembly election would be fought under the leadership of Vasundhara Raje.