BJP appoints poll in-charge in 17 states to oversee preparations for 2019 battle
Gujarat leader Gordhan Zadafia will oversee preparations in Uttar Pradesh, the state with most Lok Sabha seats.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Wednesday appointed election in-charges in 17 states and a Union Territory to oversee preparations for the next parliamentary elections due in April-May next year.
The appointments are an indication of the BJP’s attempt to put its losses in recent assembly elections behind it and prepare for the 2019 challenge.
Human Resources Development minister Prakash Javadekar will be in-charge of Rajasthan and Social Justice minister Thawarchand Gehlot, Uttarakhand. BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi will assist Javadekar in Rajasthan. Gujarat leader Gordhan Zadafia, who was junior home minister in the state during the post-Godhra riots of 2002, will be poll in-charge for Uttar Pradesh, with former Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra and Scheduled Caste leader Dushyant Gautam as his deputies. Zadafia rebelled against Narendra Modi and fought the 2007 and 2012 assembly elections under the banner of a local outfit, but returned to the BJP ahead of the 2014 parliamentary election. He unsuccessfully sought a BJP ticket to contest the 2017 assembly election in Gujarat.
The party’s vice president Om Prakash Mathur, who was appointed organisation in-charge for Uttar Pradesh after Amit Shah took over as party chief , has been drafted to steer the campaign in Gujarat. Mathur has stayed away from party affairs in Uttar Pradesh for some time now. BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav will oversee poll preparations in Bihar, a state that he handled for the party during the 2015 assembly elections and has continued to do so. He was instrumental in seat sharing negotiation between the NDA’s Bihar partners recently.
Two other general secretaries Anil Jain and Arun Singh have been assigned Chhattisgarh and Odisha respectively. UP minister Mahendra Singh and Swatantradev Singh are in charge of Assam and Madhya Pradesh respectively, former Uttarakhand BJP president Teerath Singh Rawat, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar minister Mangal Pandey, Jharkhand and Haryana minister Captain Abhimanyu, Punjab and Chandigarh. The party has also appointed poll in-charges for Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim.