ALTHOUGH OM Mathur is officially in charge of BJP’s affairs in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal appears to be emerging as the new party pointperson for the state. First he was seen in Lucknow on the day of voting for 10 Rajya Sabha seats in the state where the party managed to snatch an extra seat. Having secured some bragging rights in the form of the extra Rajya Sabha seat after the electoral setbacks in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath dashed off to the national capital to call on party chief Amit Shah. In attendance was Goyal as well. With elections to a dozen seats for the state legislative council likely to be announced soon, there was speculation whether Goyal will again be handed over the Uttar Pradesh assignment.
THE BYPOLL defeats in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan seem to have triggered an internal churning in the party as both these states are headed for assembly elections later this year. Sources said there is a serious consideration in the BJP on whether it needed to change the state unit chiefs — Nand Kumar Chauhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Ashok Parnami (Rajasthan) — to strike a balance in the state units. Both state chiefs are considered proxies of the respective chief ministers in the state organisation. The thought going around is that a more neutral person may bring balance during the candidate selection and better address factional feud.
Another helping hand
With the BSP-SP alliance rattling the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh in recently held bypolls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the BJP derived some comfort by snatching a Rajya Sabha seat from the BSP last week. What made headlines was one of the sitting BSP legislators voting for the BJP candidate. But some distance away, in Raipur, another BSP legislator brought cheers to the BJP. During the Rajya Sabha polls in Chhattisgarh, Saroj Pandey, the winning BJP candidate, polled two more votes than the party’s strength in the state assembly. It later turned out that the lone BSP legislator in the state — Keshav Chandra — and one Independent MLA voted for the BJP.