Uttar Pradesh featured prominently in Bharatiya Janata Party chief JP Nadda’s new team announced on Saturday, prompting experts to say it was done keeping 2022 state polls in mind.
The party chose Jat MP from Fatehpur Sikri, Rajkumar Chahar, 53, to head its national kisan morcha (farmers’ wing) replacing Virendra Singh Mast, the Ballia MP.
Chahar has been given a key role as the ruling party defends its agriculture sector ‘reforms’ that the opposition parties have dubbed ‘anti-farmer’ and which have sparked widespread protests against the government leading to one of the oldest NDA constituent—Shiromani Akali Dal of Punjab– leaving the coalition.
In all, 11 leaders from UP have found a place in Nadda’s team. Former UP finance minister Rajesh Agarwal, a lawmaker from Bareilly, has been made treasurer in the national body while party MP Rekha Verma, a Kurmi leader, is among the 12 national vice presidents announced by the party.
Verma had defeated Congress leader Jitin Prasada, currently busy connecting with Brahmins in UP.
“The team has adequate caste representation as it has a Brahmin, a Thakur, a Vaishya and an OBC. It has a Muslim too, for Syed Zafar Islam is now a Rajya Sabha MP from UP,” a party leader said, adding all regions from west to east were represented in the new team.
Arun Singh, a Thakur and Rajya Sabha member from UP, has been retained as the national general secretary and office in-charge. Amit Malviya, also from UP, would continue to be the party’s IT and social media head.
Of the 11 members from UP in Nadda’s team, six are MPs from the state, including two Lok Sabha members.
“Before being made party chief, Nadda ji had been UP in-charge and thus the selection of team members is a clever mix of caste and regional balance,” a party leader said.
Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) leader Shiv Prakash from Lucknow is among the three co-general secretaries (organisation) in the national panel.
“Despite the focus on the south, as well as induction of leaders from Bihar and West Bengal, the two states due for elections soon, there is no missing the continued focus on UP. At a time when the party is facing an aggressive opposition over its recent agriculture reforms, it has made an MP from UP its kisan morcha head. Then another leader from UP continues to head the party’s IT strategy and yet another UP leader is now the national treasurer,” said Irshad Ilmi, a veteran journalist and political expert.
“I would say UP’s representation has been made keeping the 2022 state assembly polls in mind and that is why Lok Sabha MPs have been given place in the national body,” he said.
BJP’s Basti MP Harish Dwivedi said his appointment as national secretary was proof of the party rewarding its cadre.
“I am just a simple worker and yet I have been picked as national secretary. I am indebted to the party leadership,” he said.
The 23-member media team too has three faces from UP, including two Rajya Sabha members – Sudhanshu Trivedi and Syed Zafar Islam. Gaurav Bhatia is the other member on the national panel.
This the first major reshuffle in the national body since 2014. Former BJP chief Amit Shah, now the country’s home minister, after taking over from Rajnath Singh, didn’t bring about any major changes in the national team, party leaders said.
Vinod Sonkar, the MP from Kaushambi, who headed the party dalit morcha (wing) is now the party’s national secretary.
“It’s a perfectly balanced national body,” said UP BJP vice president Vijay Bahadur Pathak.
Source- Hindustan Times.