With Lok Sabha member Mahendra Nath Pandey set to take charge as the new BJP state president on Monday, the party’s state unit is all set for a reshuffle with a few new faces likely to come in. The posts of two state vice-presidents are also set to become vacant after the induction of Rajya Sabha member Shiv Pratap Shukla and Baghpat MP Satyapal Singh into the Union Cabinet on Sunday. Pandey has replaced Keshav Prasad Maurya, who had offered his resignation as state BJP president soon after being sworn in as deputy chief minister in March, following the party’s “one person-one post” policy. Shukla and Satyapal Singh are likely to resign as state vice-presidents following the same policy.
Also sworn in as ministers in the state Cabinet in March were party treasurer Rajesh Agrawal, vice-presidents Dharampal Singh, Suresh Rana, Ashutosh Tandon Gopal, general secretaries Swatantra Deo Singh and Anupama Jaiswal, and state president of the Mahila Morcha Swati Singh. Their posts will also be filled in the upcoming reshuffle.
Agrawal is elected MLA from Bareilly Cantonment, Dharam Pal from Aonla, Suresh Rana from Thana Bhavan, Ashutosh from Lucknow East and Anupama Jaiswal from Bahraich. Swati Singh is a first time MLA from Sarojini Nagar in Lucknow. Swatantra Deo is not a member of any House at present, but is likely to file nomination for Legislative Council membership on Tuesday.
The BJP may also have to choose another leader as the state chief spokesperson because the incumbent on the post, Hridya Narayan Dixit, was elected MLA from Bhagwant Nagar and is now the state Assembly Speaker.
“Filling of these vacancies in the state team could be delayed further because some leaders from the state team could be elevated in the party’s national team. Also, there is possibility that the new state president goes for preparations for the upcoming local body elections with the existing state team,” said a party leader. Moreover, Pandey is unlikely to form a completely new team and may work with the existing team by making certain changes and filling the vacancies.
Another party leader said that a Dalit leader with some OBC faces could be inducted in the state team after appointment of a Brahmin as state president and induction of another Brahmin in the Union Cabinet.
About the possibilities of changes in the state team, party state spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “Local bodies’ elections are near and after that the party will have to gear up for the Lok Sabha polls. The state president holds the right to fill up the vacant positions or make changes in the team to strengthen the party organisation.”
When Pandey reaches Lucknow on Monday, he will be welcomed by party workers at over 18 locations between the airport and the BJP state headquarters. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, along with deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, and ex-state presidents will welcome Pandey at the party office.