Amid new CMs' speculation, Raje calls on Nadda

Raje was seen as the frontrunner for the chief ministerial post

New Delhi/Jaipur: Former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Thursday met BJP president J.P. Nadda amidst speculation that the party top brass wants to usher in new leadership in the desert state, which it wrested from the Congress at the just concluded Assembly polls, by bringing a "new face" at the helm. The meeting lasted for more than an hour.

Ms Raje was seen as the frontrunner for the chief ministerial post. However, the BJP's top brass, sources said, could give charge to "new faces" in all three states it won in the recently concluded Assembly elections.

Amid the suspense over the chief ministerial candidates in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the BJP MLAs in the three states are also awaiting the names of the central observers who will be overseeing the legislature party meeting, which will decide the names of the chief ministers of the states.

According to sources, in case the BJP top brass decides to name a "new face" for the Rajasthan CM post, the party top brass will want to keep Ms Raje in the know, as she is said to be commanding the support of more than 35 MLAs, most of whom had been reaching at her Jaipur residence since the day after poll results were out.

Sources disclosed Mr Nadda also enquired about the "resort politics" issue after the visit of at least five BJP MLAs to a resort on the outskirts of Jaipur left the rumour mills running.

The father of one of the MLAs, Lalit Meena, Hemraj Meena claimed the newly elected legislator from Kishanganj had been confined at the resort by the other four.

The Kishanganj MLA's father claimed his son was called by another legislator, Kanwar Lal Meena, to the resort for a meeting and was not allowed to leave. The five MLAs from the Kota division, as per the buzz in the party, had checked into the resort on Tuesday night and had plans to shift to another resort in Kotputli.

When contacted, Lalit Meena refused to divulge details.

"Whatever happened that night, I have informed the party leaders. The party is my family and it is our family matter," he told a news agency.

Meanwhile, the BJP's Rajasthan unit president C.P. Joshi said, "There is no 'badabandi'. The MLAs are in their constituencies,” he said, adding that any decision on who will be the chief minister will be taken after the legislature party meeting.

"The meeting will be called after the observers are appointed," he told the media.

Other than Ms Raje, names of Union ministers Ashwini Vaishnav, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Arjun Ram Meghwal, among others, are also doing the rounds for the Rajasthan chief minister's post.

Before his meeting with Ms Raje, the BJP president also met Mr Shekhawat. Mr Nadda also met Tijara MLA Mahant Balaknath Yogi, whose name is also in consideration for the CM post, along with Diya Kumari and Acharaya Balamukund. The meeting took place at Union home minister Amit Shah's office in Parliament, after which Mr Shah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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