The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Sunday appointed a “low-profile” leader from Anandpur Sahib, Rashpal Raju, as party’s Punjab chief, replacing Avtar Singh Karimpuri.
The former Rajya Sabha member, Karimpuri, who hails from Mahilpur in Hoshiarpur district, will be party’s candidate from the Phillaur assembly segment.
Sources said the decision was taken at a meeting of senior BSP leaders with party chief Mayawati in Lucknow on September 22 in which Karimpuri was “directed” to contest assembly polls, following which he resigned on Sunday.
“The decision to appoint BSP’s new state chief has been taken as per party’s rule, which bars any candidate from holding an organisational post,” said BSP Punjab affairs in-charge Megh Raj.
Meanwhile, the elevation of low-profile Raju as the party’s state chief has surprised senior BSP leaders. He contested 2012 assembly polls from the Anandpur Sahib segment and got only 3,986 votes.
“There are other leaders who got more than 20,000 votes in the previous assembly elections. But Raju was chosen as he is Karimpuri’s relative. This means that Karimpuri will hold the party reins from behind the scenes,” said a senior BSP leader requesting anonymity.
9 candidates announced
Besides Karimpuri, the BSP announced Nachatar Pal Singh as its candidate from Nawanshahr, Gurlal Saila from Chabbewal, Harbhajan Bajhedi from Kharar, Makhan Singh from Mehal Kalan, Rajinder Thekedar from Banga, Kikkar Singh from Talwandi Sabo, Harjinder Mithu from Jaito and Gurbax Singh Chauhan from Faridkot.