INDIA: Eyeing the 2024 state elections and national polls, the BJP announced new party roles for deposed leaders as chief ministers and central ministers. This included new commissioners for states whose chief ministers are big movers towards opposition unity to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
BJP chief JP Nadda’s orders today say former Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani will take care of Punjab and Chandigarh. Currently ruled by Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, Punjab is a big project for the BJP.
Former Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb will take charge in Haryana. Here the party retained power but lost some ground in the latest polls in 2019. The next parliamentary elections are due in 2024 but after the Lok Sabha contest.
As for former union ministers, Prakash Javadekar gets Kerala, where the BJP is trying to win the seat for itself. And Mahesh Sharma gets Tripura, where the party is in power but faces polls early next year. Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, which defeated the BJP in West Bengal last year, is seeking to expand into Bengali-speaking Tripura.
In West Bengal, the BJP has made former Bihar minister Mangal Pandey the leader. Party IT Cell chief Amit Malviya will be co-accused.
Despite the defeat last year, the BJP increased its seats in the assembly. It continues to pursue an aggressive policy here, especially since Mamata Banerjee is one of the key movers towards a national front against the BJP.
Pandey will work with Sunil Bansal, who oversees Bengal in addition to Odisha and Telangana.
Party general secretary Vinod Tawde, who was earlier overseeing Haryana, will be in charge of Bihar. The BJP here is recovering from being dumped by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who revived the JDU’s alliance with Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD and the Congress last month. He was recently in Delhi to widen the anti-BJP front.
In neighbouring Jharkhand, the BJP will have Laxmikant Vajpayee in charge. The Hemant Soren government here is accusing the BJP of “dirty politics” to remove Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Congress MLAs.
The BJP leadership’s confidence in senior leader Om Mathur, considered a confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, remains intact. Having recently been appointed to the powerful Central Election Commission, Mr Mathur will also take on Chhattisgarh, one of the few states where the Congress is in power. There are elections next year.
Sambit Patra, a prominent television face of the BJP, will be the coordinator for the North Eastern states. The party’s national secretary Rituraj Sinha will be the joint coordinator. Among the accused who have been kept are Arun Singh in Rajasthan and Murlidhar Rao in Madhya Pradesh.
Most of the leaders who were given new responsibilities did not hold any party position but had previously been in charge of elections.