The Punjab BJP is set to get a new incumbent as state affairs incharge with the recent appointment of Ram Shankar Katheria (50) as a union minister of state recently.
As per the BJP’s one man one post policy, Katheria is supposed to relinquish the charge as state affairs in-charge, a BJP office-bearer said.
“As per the old system of the party, it looks when an office-bearer becomes a minister he doesn’t hold any position in the party, in case the system has not changed party would give a replacement for Katheria. But in the new dispensation I can’t say how things have changed,” said a senior party leader on condition of anonymity.
Other than Katheria two general secretaries of the party have become ministers. They are JP Nadda as union health minister and Rajiv Partap Rudy as minister of state with independent charge. Two vice-presidents of the party, Bandaru Dattatreya and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, have been made minister of state with independent charge and minister of state. The party had to hand over these posts to new incumbents.
The BJP had, in a surprise move, appointed Katheria as in-charge of party affairs in Punjab last week in place veteran party leader Shanta Kumar even as differences were growing between the saffron party and its alliance partner, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Katheria face criminal charges
Two-time Agra MP Katheria is facing 23 cases of rioting, cheating, preventing government officials from performing their duty, disrupting railway traffic, violation of prohibitory orders. While most of these cases have been registered in Agra in the past four years, one case pertaining to violation of prohibitory orders at Parliament Street was registered in Delhi.
On his maiden visit to Punjab, Katheria did not help matters. His statements that the BJP would go alone in the 2017 assembly polls only intensified the war of words between the two sides. BJP leaders, finance minister Arun Jaitley and party general secretary JP Nadda (now health minister in the Union cabinet) had to step in to rein in their party leaders.