The BJP’s OBC Morcha or OBC wing is holding its two-day national working committee meeting in Jodhpur, the home turf of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and also the constituency of Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.
The meeting is aimed at strengthening the party’s OBC vote bank in the state ahead of the high-stakes assembly elections next year.
The BJP also wants to measure its strength in the state’s western part. Ashok Gehlot, who belongs to the OBC mali community, has a sizable presence across western Rajasthan.
Home Minister Amit Shah, who arrived in Jaisalmer last evening, will be addressing a session of the crucial meeting at a city hotel today – the second day of the gathering.
Amit Shah will visit the Tanot Mata temple in Jaisalmer before leaving for Jodhpur.
Soon after the OBC Morcha meeting, Mr Shah will address BJP’s booth-level workers at Jodhpur’s Dussehra Ground.
The meeting was inaugurated on Friday by the BJP’s OBC Morcha chief K Laxman and the party’s Rajasthan chief Satish Poonia.
Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje also arrived in Jodhpur on Friday. Ms Raje’s supporters queued up in large numbers to greet her in a clear signal to the central leadership that she still has a strong fan base in the state.
Of the 200 Assembly constituencies, 33 are in Jodhpur division that comprises six districts – Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jalore, Sirohi, and Pali. The BJP currently holds 14 seats, the Congress 17, while the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party and Independents hold one seat each.