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Change of guard for BJP likely in Bihar, UP, Maharashtra

“There eventually will be a change in the leadership in these states,” the first BJP leader said. The party constitution allows for two terms but the chiefs will have to exit under its “one-man-one-post” rule, one of the two leaders said on condition of anonymity.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2019 23:45 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP,BJP new chief,Mahendra Nath Pandey
The Bharatiya Janata Party will get new chiefs in three key states following the appointment of the incumbent presidents as union ministers, two BJP leaders said.(Reuters File Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party will get new chiefs in three key states following the appointment of the incumbent presidents as union ministers, two BJP leaders said.

Mahendra Nath Pandey, Danve Raosaheb Dadarao and Nityanand Rai head the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar respectively; all three states are governed by a BJP or NDA government. The three states account for 168 Lok Sabha seats, almost 30% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha.

“There eventually will be a change in the leadership in these states,” the first BJP leader said. The party constitution allows for two terms but the chiefs will have to exit under its “one-man-one-post” rule, one of the two leaders said on condition of anonymity.

“The change of guard is likely to happen after the organizational election of the BJP is over,” the second leader added, asking not to be identified. “The internal elections will take 2-3 months. There will be continuity in most of the other states.”

Danve is most likely to continue till the completion of the assembly election in Maharashtra in September-October, the second BJP leader said. “A new president will take over after the election.”

The junior minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution; Danve succeeded Devendra Fadnavis as the Maharashtra BJP chief in January 2015 and was re-elected to the post in 2016. Danve was a minister for some time in the first term of Narendra Modi in 2014.

Pandey was appointed Uttar Pradesh BJP chief in August 2017, replacing Keshav Prasad Maurya who joined the Yogi Adityanath government as deputy chief minister. Pandey was the junior minister in HRD ministry when he was appointed UP BJP chief.

“There was a discussion within the party about replacing him ahead of the Lok Sabha election, but the party decided not to rock the boat at a crucial time,” the first leader said. Given the complete synergy between the UP BJP and the central unit of the party, finding a replacement to Pandey won’t be difficult, he added.

Pandey received a promotion this time and Modi appointed him the cabinet minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. His promotion is also seen as the BJP’s attempt to reach out to Brahmins in Uttar Pradesh, where there is an ongoing rivalry between Brahmins and Thakurs.

Rai, a OBC leader, was given charge of Bihar in November 2016 and is considered a confidant of the party’s national president Amit Shah. Rai is now the junior minister in home ministry, headed by Shah.

“While a new face will be picked to lead the BJP in Bihar, it is most likely that the BJP will continue its OBC outreach in the state,” a third BJP leader said, asking not to be identified.

Except Rai, all other union ministers of the BJP from Bihar are from the upper castes.

First Published: Jun 05, 2019 17:44 IST