Jaipur: In dramatic development reflecting intense feud in Rajasthan BJP, Leader of the Opposition Vasundhara Raje on Saturday threatened to quit the party objecting to a political campaign proposed by senior party leader Gulabchand Kataria who later decided to give up the move.

At a meeting of the state party core committee, Raje said she would resign from the party's membership if Kataria did not withdraw his decision to take out the "Lok Jagran Yatra", after which Kataria announced not to go ahead with his proposed 28-day event.

At the meeting attended by senior party leaders, Raje was understood to have objected to Kataria's plan to take out the 'Yatra' which was seen by a section in BJP as Kataria's move to project himself as the party's chief ministerial face in assembly elections due next year.

Kataria was Rajasthan Home Minister in the previous government headed by Raje. Raje's supporters, including BJP general secretary and MLA Kiran Maheshwari and others, had complained to BJP central leadership about Kataria his proposed yatra, after which party chief Nitin Gadkari had called Kataria and other leaders recently and asked him to postpone the yatra till May 5 and asked the state leadership to take a decision in a core committee meeting which was held on Saturday.

Raje said party workers are always important and if they are not happy with any decision, such a decision should be dropped.

Raje told reporters before leaving the party office that she would resign from the party if Kataria did not withdraw his decision. BJP sources said that after differences with Kataria, Raje said in the meeting "I should resign" and left.

Soon after that, Kataria also came out of the meeting and announced he will not be taking out the Yatra "in the interest of the party".

"I am a disciplined member of the party and I am not above the party. The party members are unhappy with my decision. So, I announce cancellation of the Yatra in the party's interest," he said.
BJP leaders, including national secretary Kirit Somaiya, state president Arun Chaturvedi, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Ghanshyam Tiwari, MLA Kiran Maheshwari were also present at the meeting which began in the evening.

Kataria had earlier announced he would undertake a 28-day 'Lok Jagran Yatra' in the tribal belt of the state. After the meeting, Maheshwari, MLA Kalyan Singh and a few more office-bearers announced their resignation from the party's membership in support of Vasundhara Raje.

"If Raje resigns, we also resign from the party. Along with me, party's office-bearers Srichand Kriplani, Dhan Singh Rawat, Dhanraj Sharma (Pratapgarh district BJP president), Gajendra Chauhan (Dungarpur district president), C. Joshi (Chittorgrh district president) and Bhagwat Puri (Banswara district president) also announced they would resign," Maheshwari said on Saturday.

She said Kataria should have taken the party in confidence before announcing the yatra. "When the party members are not happy with his yatra, which he made an ego issue, why did he not cancel the yatra earlier?' she said.

 Asked why she and others with her resigned even after Kataria's announcement to cancel the yatra, she said "it was not his own decision. He announced under pressure when Raje said she would resign. It is not acceptable," she said.


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