NEW DELHI: A former Minister in the Vajpayee cabinet, and a recognised Dalit leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh, Sangh Priya Gautam has increased the dissident decibels within by demanding Union Minister Nitin Gadkari be made the Deputy Prime Minister and erstwhile Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan the BJP President.

Gautam told The Citizen that the party could be saved only if Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was shifted to look after religious affairs as he is so inclined and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh entrusted with the governance of UP.

He said that Amit Shah was a member of the Rajya Sabha and should focus on the Upper House to work his ‘magic’ and make way for Chouhan to take over as the party president.

Although he began with the need to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the 5-0 debacle of the BJP in the recent Assembly elections, Gautam ended by saying that he should remain but that Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari brought in for better governance and administration as the Deputy Chief Minister.

The demand, formalised through a statement issued now by Sangh Priya Gautam has not gone unnoticed in BJP circles but not taken very seriously as he does not hold a position in the party. However, the very fact that he has dared question the authority of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister is an indicator of the times when taken along with the string of remarks by Gadkari and the silence of both PM Modi and Shah about the electoral debacle in the states.

Chouhan had created a stir when he joined the victorious Congress leaders on the stage at Kamal Nath’s inauguration ceremony. All were seen holding hands aloft and grinning broadly.

This comes along with Yoga guru Ramdev’s recent remarks about the next Prime Minister of India. He said at Madurai in Tamil Nadu, "Now the political situation is very difficult. We cannot say who will [be] the next prime minister or who will lead the country, but situation is very interesting..." Ramdev has been very close to PM Modi, and seen as a staunch supporter of the current regime. That he chose to cast doubts on Modi’s return to the post is significant as is his announcement that he will not support any person or party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “I am not focusing on politics,” Ramdev told ANI.

Gadkari has been creating ripples in the party as reported first by The Citizen with remarks that are being seen as a direct indictment of the top leaders. His latest statement was seen as a jibe against Amit Shah where he said, “"If one looks closely, the success of the Home Ministry today is because of their trained and skilled IAS and IPS officers. Proper training is the most important part. I believe that overall, majority of the IPS, IAS officers are clean and does a good job but if I am the party president, and my MLAs are not doing well, my MPs don't perform then I am responsible. What have I done to groom them.”

And then if this was not enough the BJP Minister even supported Jawaharlal Nehru in a sense while speaking of the need for tolerance (in the wake of the controversy over actor Naseeruddin Shah’s interview) with, “"He (Nehru) would say every person should think that he is not a problem for the country, and I would also think so. Half the problems would be solved if each individual decided not to create them.”