BJP president Amit Shah appointed a new president for the party’s Madhya Pradesh unit besides including three state leaders in his new national executive announced on Saturday.
Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan, the Lok Sabha MP from Khandwa and former state general secretary, was named as the new BJP state unit chief for Madhya Pradesh.
Chauhan, 61, replaced Gwalior MP Narendra Singh Tomar, who has become the Union minister for mines, steel, labour and employment.
Chauhan is perceived to be close to both chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Narendra Singh Tomar and was seen as their candidate for the post in the run-up to the appointment.
Madhya Pradesh as a state has been given comparable representation in the new team announced by Amit Shah.
Rajya Sabha MP Prabhat Jha and Mandla MP and tribal leader Faggan Singh Kulaste have been retained as vice-president and head of the scheduled tribe wing respectively. Betul MP Jyoti Dhurve has been appointed as a secretary replacing Sudha Malaiya, who was also a secretary in the earlier executive.
Overall, Shah named his new war council with an eye on assembly polls in four states besides by-polls in Uttar Pradesh. Shah, who took over the party top job in July, also brought in former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa as a vice-president and new RSS pointsman Ram Madhav as general secretary.
One surprise omission was Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi who was dropped as general secretary, a move seen as a rap for his mother, union minister Maneka Gandhi projecting him as a probable chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh.
By-polls to 11 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh are slated for September and the BJP is hoping to cash in on its stunning show in the Lok Sabha polls when it won 71 out of the 80 seats.
Assembly polls are due in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir in the next few months.
Yeddyurappa, 71, is among the 11 vice-presidents in Shah’s new team which also included former Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as vice-president. The team of Shah, 51, also has eight general secretaries and 14 secretaries.
"The team formed by Amit bhai is excellent, full of youth and experience. We will work with enthusiasm," senior party leader Shahnawaz Hussain was quoted as saying by ANI. The controversial Shah, known to be a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, took over as BJP chief last month replacing home minister Rajnath Singh.
As head of the BJP’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh, Shah had led the party to a stunning show in the state which had ultimately propelled the BJP to absolute majority in the general elections.