Uttar Pradesh, which gave the maximum number of MPs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in last year’s Lok Sabha elections, is firmly
in the eyesight of the party as it prepares itself for a battle to wrestle the state from the Samajwadi Party in 2017.
The importance the party is giving to the politically crucial state can be gauged from the fact that an increasing number of UP leaders have
found a place in BJP national body.
BJP president Amit Shah also recently appointed five national leaders —- Sunil Ojha, Virendra Khateek, Rameshwar Chaurasiya, Ramesh
Bishuri and Satyendra Kushwaha —- as co-incharge for UP. They will assist party in-charge for state, Om Mathur. Chaurasiya and
Kushwaha have already worked in UP as co-incharge ahead of last year’s Lok Sabha elections when Shah was in-charge of UP.
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The party has also appointed former MP and UP leader S P Baghel as president of the newly formed OBC Morcha, and Vijay Pal Singh
Tomar as president of Kisan Morcha.
The development has come when Shah has already inducted 10 leaders from UP in his national team. They include Satyapal Mallik and
Dinesh Sharma as vice-presidents, Arun Singh as general secretary, Ram Lal as general secretary (organisation), Shiv Prakash as joint
general secretary; Sidharth Nath Singh, Shrikant Sharma and Mahendra Singh as secretaries; Bizay Sonkar Shastri and Sudhanshu Trivedi
UP in-charge Om Mathur, too, was recently appointed party’s national vice-president.
In Union Council of Ministers, there are five cabinet ministers, three ministers of state (independent charge) and five other ministers of
state besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, who are MPs from UP.
Baghel, who has been appointed president of OBC Morcha, had left BSP in March last year and had contested Lok Sabha election as BJP
nominee from Firozabad, which he lost. A few months earlier, he was inducted as BJP national executive committee member. He earlier
had been Lok Sabha MP from Samajwadi Party from Jalesar in 1998, 1999 and 2004.
A backward caste leader, Baghel belongs to Braj region while Kisan Morcha president Vijay Pal Singh Tomar was so far president of
farmers’ wing in UP state unit and belongs to western region.
Asked about increasing participation of UP leaders in the national body, party national vice-president and Lucknow mayor, Dinesh
Sharma, admitted that BJP will be benefited with these steps in coming days, including in the 2017 Assembly polls. “Party president is
strengthening the organisation by inducting people from UP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, is giving a major share to the state in
Centre-sponsored development and welfare schemes,” Sharma said.
Virendra Khateek, MP from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh, said, “UP is a big state set to go for Assembly polls and hence the party is
focusing on it. A meeting of all newly appointed co-incharge will be held with Om Mathur for distribution of work very soon”.
Party’s state president Laxmikant Bajpai, too, said the central leadership was inducting UP leaders in the national team with an eye on the
next Assembly elections.