Now, 22-year-old letter of Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia sharpens party rift


Express News Service

JAIPUR: The infighting in the Rajasthan BJP has led to a strange situation as a letter written by Rajasthan BJP president Satish Poonia 22 years ago has become the focal point of the party’s internal rift.

Days after the state unit issued a notice to a Vasundhra Raje loyalist Rohitash Sharma, the letter by the current BJP chief has been leaked and gone viral on social media. While his critics are using this letter to project that Poonia used to flout party discipline in the past, Poonia says it’s a conspiracy to defame him and has questioned why his letter, written over decades ago, has now been leaked.

In this 22-year-old letter, Satish Poonia had expressed his anger against senior BJP leaders of that time including former Chief Minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Rajendra Rathore, currently the Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajasthan Assembly. In the letter, Poonia had lashed out at several top leaders of the Rajasthan BJP and accused them of conniving against him to deny him the BJP ticket for an upcoming election. Poonia had sent the letter to Gulab Chand Kataria, who was then the Rajasthan BJP president and Poonia had in protest, sent his resignation as the BJP’s state youth wing president.

Poonia’s letter has been leaked just a few days after one of Vasundhra Raje’s close supporters and former minister Rohitash Sharma was issued a notice and asked to explain his recent statements within 15 days. Sharma had claimed that Raje should be the CM face for the 2023 elections in Rajasthan and alleged that currently, state BJP leaders are running the party just by sitting in their offices.

While Rohitash Sharma is yet to respond to the party’s notice on charges of indiscipline, he was quick to use the old letter of Satish Poonia to embarrass the state BJP Chief.  Sharma remarked, “it is strange that a person who crossed all limits of indiscipline in the past, is now trying to enforce discipline on others. What discipline can a person teach others when he has committed gross indiscipline? This is really a sad situation.”

In response, Poonia has questioned the timing of its leakage, over two decades after he wrote it. After the letter went viral, Poonia took to Twitter to defend himself and stated that ” this is a political conspiracy against me since I am a simple man from a village background who many city folks cannot digest. I can’t understand what is the relevance today of a letter written 22 years ago.”

While nobody knows who has leaked it, inner circles in the BJP suspect that Poonia critics, possibly from the Raje faction, behind it. With Raje loyalists getting aggressive and the Poonia camp keen to enforce discipline, the rift in the Rajasthan BJP is widening with each passing day.

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