Days after Congress thumped the ruling BJP in Rajasthan bypolls, state Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has faced rebellion from party members.
BJP leaders have written a letter to Party President Amit Shah demanding a complete change in leadership.
In the letter, which Republic TV has an exclusive copy of, BJP workers have blamed Rajasthan government for the party’s loss in bypolls. It voices the growing dissent against CM Raje and Rajasthan BJP president Ashok Parnami.
On Thursday, the Congress thumped the ruling BJP in Rajasthan, clinching all the two Lok Sabha and one state Assembly seats in bypolls in the state where the saffron party is eyeing a second straight term when Assembly elections are held around December this year. After making a remarkable turnaround in its electoral fortunes in neighbouring Gujarat late last year, the Congress put up a muscular performance in Rajasthan where its candidates wrested Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha and Mandalgarh Assembly seats from the BJP by impressive margins.
Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress trounced his nearest BJP rival Jaswant Yadav by a whopping 1,96,496 votes in Alwar, while the main opposition party's nominee for Ajmer Raghu Sharma beat BJP's Swaroop Lamba by an impressive margin of over 84,414 votes. The Congress's Vivek Dhakad won the Mandalgarh Assembly seat, defeating his nearest BJP rival Shakti Singh Hada by nearly 13,000 votes. Rebel Congress leader Gopal Malviya, who contested as an independent, failed to alter the outcome.
The defeat for the BJP came days after the release of period film Padmaavat which saw an upheaval of sorts in the state, with the influential Rajput community up in arms against its screening, claiming it distorted historical facts and projected queen Padmini of Mewar in poor light. Though the BJP government stood solidly behind the Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which spearheaded the protest against the film, to stall its release, the gesture did not pay off as the party lost the Ajmer seat that has sizeable population of Rajputs.
The recent incidents of vigilantism in the name of cow protection, including the lynching of a Muslim man Pehlu Khan in Alwar over allegations of cow smuggling, appeared to have consolidated the minority community electorate behind the Congress.
The BJP had won all the 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state in the 2014 general elections. The party, which wrested power from the Congress in in Rajasthan in 2013, had 161 MLAs in the House of 200. With this win, the Congress's strength in the Lok Sabha has gone up to 48. Buoyed by the results, a jubilant Congress president Rahul Gandhi hailed the party's Rajasthan unit for its impressive show, calling the outcome a rejection of the BJP by the people.
The bypolls were necessitated due to the deaths of Sanwarlal Jat and Mahant Chand Nath Yogi, BJP MPs from Ajmer and Alwar respectively, and Mandalgarh MLA Kirti Kumari.
(With PTI inputs)