Rajasthan's deputy leader of opposition resigns

Jaipur, Feb 20 (IANS) With infighting in BJP's Rajasthan unit refusing to die down, deputy leader of opposition Ghanshyam Tiwari resigned Wednesday from the post.

"Tiwari is feeling let down as he was not given due importance by the party leadership. He was not offered any big post," a BJP office-bearer told IANS.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) central leadership recently not only re-appointed former chief minister Vasundhara Raje as the party's state president but also elevated Tiwari's rival Gulab Chand Kataria to the post of leader of opposition.

Tiwari, one of the top Brahmin leaders in the state, had already openly expressed unwillingness to continue in the post.

"I will carry out the responsibilities as given to me by the party. But I will not accept the responsibility of the deputy leader of opposition," Tiwari said in an emotional farewell speech to the party office-bearers.

"I can't compromise on dignity. That is why I'm resigning."

In his speech, Tiwari also drew attention to one of the statements made by a party colleague a few days back.

Without naming the legislator, Tiwari said: "I thank him for letting me know that I'm not a mass leader. Though in my position as deputy leader of opposition, I have tried to raise the voice of my party colleagues both in and outside the house."

Sources in the BJP said that earlier in the day, efforts were made to pacify Tiwari and top leaders, including newly-elected leader of opposition Gulab Chand Kataria, Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav and Onkar Singh Lakhawat, met him to work out a compromise. But Tiwari was adamant on resigning, a day ahead of the assembly's budget session.

"Though efforts were being made to work out some kind of patch up with Tiwari, he expressed displeasure over being sidelined and said he will resign, making life difficult for Raje," a BJP office-bearer, not wanting to be named, told IANS.

"Tiwari is not a small leader. He has a big stature and comes from RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) background and not giving him due importance will certainly affect the party in the state," he said.

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