BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday appointed B L Santosh as the new general secretary (organisation) of the party. Santosh replaced Ram Lal, who has returned to the RSS after serving in the post 13 years. Santosh, who had served as Karnataka BJP’s organisation secretary in the past, was national joint secretary (organisation) before his appointment on Sunday.
Santosh’s appointment to the crucial post comes at a time when the BJP wants to focus on the south as it has so far not been able to make deep inroads into the region, except in Karnataka.
On Saturday, Santosh tweeted, “It was 12 years of learning with @Ramlal from 2006. I was deputed to political field along with him. Calm, composed attention to details were his hallmark. He was a father figure to many like me. Back to Sangh work. Wish you all the best ji. We will miss you.”
Like his predecessor Ram Lal, Santosh maintains a low profile, but his role in building the BJP’s political base in Karnataka and neighbouring Goa has been lauded by the party leadership. An RSS pracharak with an experience of electoral politics, Santosh is considered a strong ideologue who is well-versed with the poll dynamics. The BJP said in a statement that his appointment comes into effect immediately.
Santosh was the party’s general secretary (organisation) in Karnataka for eight years before he was made a national office-bearer in charge of southern states in 2014.
A full-time RSS pracharak is appointed to the post of general secretary (organisation) on deputation in the BJP and will coordinate between the RSS and the party. A chemical engineer by qualification, Santosh hails from Dakshina Kannada, but was raised in Bengaluru. He worked as a full-time pracharak in Mysuru and Shimoga districts before becoming the state organisation secretary of the BJP.
During the last few years, Santosh had emerged as a power centre within the Karnataka unit of the BJP. His strong stance on issues had strained his relationship with some leaders in the state, including state BJP president and former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who has publicly expressed his displeasure over Santosh in the past.
BJP leaders in Karnataka said it was Santosh who had insisted on denying a ticket to Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, the wife of BJP leader late Ananth Kumar from Bengaluru South and backed young leader Tejasvi Surya, who went on to win the polls. Santosh’s name even came up in the race for the chief minister’s post ahead of the 2018 state polls in Karnataka.
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