The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) replaced its Punjab chief Avtar Singh Karimpuri, with Rachpal Raju, in the newly-announced party organisational structure on Sunday. Karimpuri has now been made one of the in-charges of party affairs in Punjab. He will contest from Phillaur (Reserve) assembly segment against Baldev Singh Khera, an old BSP hand who joined the SAD a couple of months ago.
BSP is learnt to have been unhappy after Khera defected. BSP had then thrown a challenge to Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal by way of organising a ‘Lalkar Rally’ in Phillaur assembly constituency in Jalandhar district.
Party sources said Phillaur seat has become a prestige issue for the BSP and Karimpuri was asked to remain in the constituency as much as possible.
Newly-appointed president Rachpal Raju hails from Garhshankar in Hoshiarpur. A veteran party leader, he had successully contested the 2004 by-elections from Garhshankar after resigning from the state revenue department where was posted as a patwari.
Raju had also unsuccessfully contested the 2007 and 2012 assembly elections in Punjab.