Uttar Pradesh BJP has announced election of presidents of its 51 district units, paving way for beginning the process to choose party’s state unit president. Sources said the party may replace incumbent state president Laxmikant Bajpai with a leader from backward caste. The new state president will lead the party when Uttar Pradesh goes to polls in 2017.
Party MP and election officer for conducting organisational polls in UP, Mahendra Pandey Monday declared 51 district presidents elected. For organisational purpose, BJP has divided UP into 90 district units. Election of at least 45 district presidents is mandatory for holding polls to choose the state president.
Speaking to The Indian Express, party’s national election officer Avinash Rai Khanna confirmed that the criteria for holding the election of state president has been fulfilled in UP. “Election of the state president will be held very soon,” he said.
According to sources, party state general secretaries Swatantra Deo Singh, Dharmpal Singh and Union Minister Santosh Gangwar are among the backward leaders who are under consideration for the post. Swatantra Deo and Gangwar, both, have RSS background. While Gangwar is a known face in the party at the national level too, Swatantra Deo had been active in the organisation and has worked in the past in ABVP and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) as well.
Party’s focus on backward caste could be ascertained also from the list of newly elected 51 district presidents who include 20 OBCs. Sources said that more OBC names could appear in the list of rest 39 district presidents.
Sources said that while Bajpai is looking for second term, name of Lucknow mayor and party national vice-president Dinesh Sharma, a Brahmin, is also under consideration. Minister of State for HRD Ram Shanker Katheria, who is a Dalit and has RSS background, is also doing rounds.
When asked about possibilities for his second term, Bajpai said that he was a party worker and top leaders have to access his work. “I will follow the decision of the party,” he said.
Bajpai was elected unopposed as state president for three years on December 2, 2012. A four-time MLA from Meerut, Bajpai had been appointed president in-charge of UP in April, 2012 after Surya Pratap Shahi had resigned taking responsibility for party’s poor performance in Assembly elections.