New Delhi, June 29: BJP president Amit Shah appointed Rajya Sabha MP Madanlal Saini as the party's state unit president in poll-bound Rajasthan, over two months after Ashok Parnami resigned from the post.
Ashok Parnami resigned as Rajasthan BJP president in April after the party lost two Lok Sabha and one Assembly bye-elections in March. Sources said that differences between Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and national BJP president Amit Shah over the issue delayed the decision of appointing the new state BJP chief.
Saini, who belongs to the Mali caste, the BJP has stayed clear of a major political divide - that between the Jats and the Rajputs. He belongs to the same caste as the Congress leader Ashok Gehlote belong to. So he will be able to have a check on the caste vote swing in Congress' favour. However, the first choice of Shah for the post has been Jodhpur MP and Union minister Gajendra Shekhawat, but Raje wanted her loyalist, Srichand Kriplani, a minister in the state government.
Actually Raje wanted a Jat, instead of a Rajput, as the next BJP state president. Saini appears to be a consensus candidate. Saini was MLA from Udaipurwati in Jhunjhunu, a seat he won in 2008. In April this year, he was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from the state of Rajasthan.