Amit Shah to remain chief of BJP, may induct new faces

At least half of the state BJP units will have their new teams in place before the election of the national president, which is scheduled for the end of January.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: January 6, 2016 9:10 am
BJP, Amit Shah, kirti azad, arun jaitley, DDCA, arvind kejriwal,indian express news BJP President Amit Shah. (Express Photo by: Oinam Anand)

Amit Shah is likely to be re-elected as BJP president later this month, following which he is expected to revamp his team. Some fresh faces, including at least one cabinet minister, are likely to be inducted in the organisation.

At least half of the state BJP units will have their new teams in place before the election of the national president, which is scheduled for the end of January.

Senior leaders said Shah would like to have his men in the Uttar Pradesh unit, because elections in that state would be his “biggest challenge”. For UP, which goes to polls next year, the leadership is considering a backward community leader to replace Laxmikant Bajpai. Swatantra Dev Singh, who started his political career in the ABVP and is a prominent face of the UP BJP, is likely to be made state unit chief while Shrikant Sharma, currently a national secretary, could be appointed general secretary in order to promote a Brahmin face.

However, given the party’s debacle in the Bihar, Shah did not have a free hand in appointing his men in all states, and largely gave in to the respective CMs’ choices. While Nandkumar Singh Chauhan got a second term in MP, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje’s loyalist Ashok Parnami was re-elected in the state. The chief of Chhattisgarh unit, Dharamlal Kaushik, was also re-elected. As for Kerala and West Bengal, which go to polls later this year, the RSS’s influence was evident. In Kerala, the party has appointed Hindutva hardliner Kummanam Rajashekharan and in West Bengal, it elevated Dilip Ghosh, who joined the party from the RSS just a year ago.

“Had the BJP won Bihar, he (Shah) would have his own choices. The complaint in Bihar was that the central leadership had imposed its decisions. So he had to give in,” said a party leader.