Former IAS officer AK Sharma named UP BJP vice-president
AK Sharma, a retired IAS officer close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the party earlier this year
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday appointed bureaucrat-turned-party MLC AK Sharma as the Uttar Pradeh unit’s vice-president, ending speculation about his induction in the state cabinet. The move comes a year ahead of assembly elections in the state.
Sharma, a retired IAS officer close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the party earlier this year. He was Modi’s secretary when the PM was the Gujarat chief minister and is known to have successfully handled the Vibrant Gujarat campaign to attract investments.
“I thank the party’s national and state leadership for my appointment as state BJP vice-president. Under the guidance of seniors and with the support of cadre, I will continue to serve the society, state and the country,” Sharma tweeted after his appointment.
The announcement of Sharma’s appointment was made by BJP state unit president Swatantra Dev Singh on a day former Congress leader Jitin Prasada visited the party office in Lucknow after recently joining the BJP. In an official statement, Singh also announced the appointments of Archana Mishra from Lucknow and Amit Valmiki from Bulandshahr as secretaries of the state unit.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath recently visited Delhi to meet top leaders of the party against the backdrop of speculation that the BJP’s central leadership was worried about his government‘s handling of the Covid-19 crisis. There were also reports of friction within the state unit which were escalated to the Centre. BJP general secretary organisation BL Santhosh was in Uttar Pradesh earlier this month to meet party leaders and ministers.
The central leadership has, however, ruled out any change in state leadership, throwing their weight behind the Yogi Adityanath administration. Santhosh is expected to arrive in Lucknow again on Monday for another round of feedback discussions, people aware of the matter said.
Sharma was handling the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) ministry’s affairs, at the time of his resignation. Sharma did his schooling from the Mau district in eastern Uttar Pradesh and post-graduation from Allahabad University.
With inputs from PTI