BJP chief Amit Shah Friday appointed party spokesperson Anil Baluni as the head of the party’s media department. BJP spokesperson in Bihar Sanjay Mayukh would be sub-head of the cell. Baluni (45), who has been active with BJP in Uttarakhand since 1993, replaces Shrikant Sharma, who is now the Energy Minister in UP. He is believed to enjoy the confidence of both PM Narendra Modi and Shah.
Soft-spoken but assertive when it comes to defending the party’s stand on controversial issues, Baluni has earned many friends since he came to the national capital in 2014, when Shah made him the national spokesperson. Before being the face of BJP in heated TV debates, Baluni, a native of Pauri Garhwal, was spokesperson of Uttarakhand BJP. He also had a stint as deputy chairman of Uttarakhand state Forest and Environment Committee. A lover of nature, he is an authority on flora and fauna of Uttarakhand.
According to Baluni, “as a pahari, trekking, walking through forests was a part of our life”. Baluni’s association with BJP started with ABVP when he was a Delhi University student. The commerce graduate holds a diploma in journalism too. It was during his journalism course that he started visiting Sangh offices and Sundar Singh Bhandari, then a prominent Sangh leader, spotted him. When Bhandari went to Patna as Governor, Baluni became his OSD and later accompanied him to the Gujarat Raj Bhavan.
The new role, Baluni hopes, would help him walk a long way in his political life. “I will be working to take the party’s ideology to people with the help of media,” he told The Indian Express. Mayukh, an MLC in Bihar, had earlier served in the party’s national media wing before being moved to the state.