BJP leaders dropped as chief ministers, central ministers get new roles, Vijay Rupani, Biplab Deb on list

BJP leader JP Nadda with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. (Case)

New Delhi:

The BJP, focused on national elections and the 2024 national elections, today announced new party roles for sacked leaders as chief ministers and central ministers. This included new officials for states whose chief ministers are big drivers towards uniting the opposition for a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Today’s orders from BJP leader JP Nadda say former Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani will take care of Punjab and Chandigarh. Punjab, currently ruled by Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, is a big project for the BJP. He couldn’t do much in Assembly polls earlier this year – fighting alone – as he was let down by his senior associate Akali Dal over farm laws which were scrapped after massive protests .

In Haryana, the former chief minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb, will take charge. Here, the party retained power but lost ground in the latest polls in 2019. The next assembly elections are due in 2024, but after the Lok Sabha contest.

As for the former union ministers, Prakash Javadekar obtains Kerala, where the BJP is struggling to find a place. And Mahesh Sharma gets Tripura, where the party is in power but faces polls early next year. Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, after defeating the BJP in West Bengal last year, is seeking to expand into Tripura, whose majority population speaks Bengali.

In West Bengal, the BJP named former Bihar minister Mangal Pandey in charge. The head of the party’s IT unit, Amit Malviya, will be co-responsible.

Despite a defeat last year, the BJP increased its seats in the assembly. He continues to pursue an aggressive policy here, especially since Mamata Banerjee is one of the main drivers of a national front against the BJP.

Mr Pandey will work with Sunil Bansal, who oversees Bengal in addition to Odisha and Telangana.

Bihar will be under the responsibility of the party’s general secretary, Vinod Tawde, who previously oversaw Haryana. The BJP here is recovering from a dumping by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who revived the JDU’s alliance with Tejashwi Yadav’s RJD and Congress last month. He was recently in Delhi to broaden the anti-BJP front.

In neighboring Jharkhand, Laxmikant Vajpayee will be responsible for the BJP. Hemant Soren’s government here has accused the BJP of ‘dirty politics’ to remove Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Congress MPs.

The BJP leadership’s confidence in senior leader Om Mathur, considered a confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, remains intact. Having recently been nominated for the powerful Central Election Commission, Mr Mathur will also take charge of Chhattisgarh, one of the few states where Congress is in power. The elections are next year.

Sambit Patra, the prominent television face of the BJP, will be the coordinator for the northeastern states. National Party Secretary Rituraj Sinha will serve as co-coordinator. Among the officials who have been shortlisted are Arun Singh in Rajasthan and Murlidhar Rao in Madhya Pradesh.

The party also shared the list, in Hindi, on Twitter.

Most of the leaders who have been given new responsibilities have not held any position within the party, but have been in charge of elections before.

Sources say the idea is that they will not be weighed down by party positions as they focus entirely on expanding the BJP’s base and winning elections in specific states.

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