The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) decision to put senior leader Om Mathur, the man who helped the party pull off a huge win in the Maharashtra assembly polls, in charge of the party’s affairs in Uttar Pradesh is aimed at wresting the state from the ruling Samajwadi Party in the 2017 assembly election.
Party sources say Mathur’s appointment , which follows the decision to make party president Amit Shah confidant Sunil Bansal general secretary (organisation) in Uttar Pradesh, indicates that affairs in the politically crucial state will now be directly monitored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah.
“Mathur’s appointment showcases the BJP’s desire to wrest UP in 2017 from the Samajwadi Party,” a BJP insider said.
The BJP won 71 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the April parliamentary election, an achievement that was widely credited to the efforts of Shah, who was in-charge of the state then. The passing of the baton to Mathur shows the party’s intent to carry on the winning formula.
A former RSS pracharak, the 62-year-old Mathur played key roles in the Gujarat and Rajasthan assembly elections and enjoys the confidence of both and BJP president Shah. The fact that he is a kayastha could help the BJP in Uttar Pradesh’s complicated caste dynamics.
Mathur’s appointment came a day after the RSS national council, the Sangh’s highest decision-making body, concluded in Lucknow. Sources say Shah, who attended the meeting, discussed the contours of ‘Mission UP’ with RSS leaders at the meeting.
Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma, who is also the BJP national vice president, was appointed in-charge of Gujarat and MLC Mahendra Singh was made in-charge of Assam.
“I thank party chief Amit Shah for this assignment. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure the success of the Congress-free campaign in Assam,” said Singh. ?