Former mayor of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and first-time councillor Adesh Kumar Gupta Tuesday replaced Manoj Tiwari as the Delhi BJP chief.
Gupta (51) was chosen as mayor in 2018 by the BJP, which rules all three municipal corporations in Delhi. He is currently a member of the North MCD’s standing committee — a top decision-making body — from the West Patel Nagar ward.
Gupta said his priorities would be to tackle the current pandemic and “expose” the Aam Aadmi Party. “People are not getting admission in hospitals, and poor people have migrated in large numbers from Delhi. We will reach out to people and show them how AAP makes tall claims but the ground reality is something else,” he said, adding he will also focus on strengthening the organisation.
Gupta, who hails from Kannauj in UP, moved to the capital in 1994 and was later appointed the national office secretary of the BJP Yuva Morcha, when current Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan was president of the outfit. Between 2009 and 2014, he occupied several positions in the Delhi BJP — from block to district to state level.
For many party leaders, though, his appointment has come as a surprise. Though an old party hand, his name had not been doing the rounds.
The announcement has also indicated the party’s future strategy — of strengthening grassroot workers, preparing the next line of leadership in Delhi, and increasing its focus on the Baniya community, which has traditionally been a BJP votebank.
Senior leaders said the appointment was also done keeping the 2022 corporation election in mind. The BJP has been in power for the last three terms, and will face a major anti-incumbency.
The biggest challenge for Gupta could be bringing different factions together, which had proven to be a challenge for the BJP ahead of the assembly polls earlier this year.
Gupta, also considered close to the RSS, had been a part of ABVP since 1987, holding different posts. He was involved with BJP’s Yuva Morcha from 2004 to 2007. In 2009, he became the mandal president from West Patel Nagar and later the in-charge of Najafgarh.
A senior BJP leader said, “Most leaders during feedback sessions had said they wanted someone from the organisation and not the ones new to Delhi politics.”
Insiders also claimed Gupta’s name was pushed by party’s Delhi in-charge Shyam Jaju.
Manoj Tiwari, meanwhile, said, “I am grateful to all workers, office-bearers and people of Delhi for their affection and co-operation in my three-and-a-half years as state president. I am sure Gupta will take everyone together.”
Tiwari, who was appointed Delhi BJP president in November 2016, led the party to victories in municipal polls in 2017 and Lok Sabha elections last year. In the assembly elections, though, the party won just eight out of 70 seats.
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