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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Forward caste or OBC? BJP in a bind over new Bihar chief

Junior home minister Nityanand Rai continues to head the Bihar BJP, unlike his Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra counterparts who were relieved of their organisational assignment within months of their induction into the union council of ministers.

patna Updated: Sep 05, 2019 09:34 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Junior home minister Nityanand Rai continues to head the Bihar BJP, months after their induction into the union council of ministers.
Junior home minister Nityanand Rai continues to head the Bihar BJP, months after their induction into the union council of ministers.(PTI file photo)
         

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in a bind over picking a new chief for its Bihar unit and has not been able to conclude consultations on whether a forward caste leader or someone from the OBC communities should get the reins of the party, two persons familiar with the subject said.

Junior home minister Nityanand Rai continues to head the Bihar BJP, unlike his Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra counterparts who were relieved of their organisational assignment within months of their induction into the union council of ministers.

Skill Development Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey and junior minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution Danve Raosaheb Dadarao were replaced with Swatantra Dev Singh and Chandrakant Dada Patil, respectively, as presidents of the Uttar Pradesh and Maharahtra BJP in July this year.

“Bihar did not get a new chief along with Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh because we could not find a suitable candidate,” the first person quoted in the story said. “We decided not to rush into the decision and take our time.”

Read: NRC demand in Bihar makes NDA a divided house

The second leader said internal consultations about whether to have a forward caste leader or someone from the backward communities as head of Bihar BJP have remained inconclusive. “Given the BJP’s tie-up with Nitish Kumar, who is the most prominent OBC leader of Bihar, the party may opt for a leader from the forward castes to head the BJP. A final call hasn’t been taken yet,” this leader said.

Apart from Rai, only Sushil Kumar Modi and Nand Kishore Yadav are two prominent OBC leaders to have headed Bihar BJP in recent past.

The first leader said that a decision on new president of Bihar BJP is expected any time, as the party was feeling the need of a full time head to steer the party ahead of the 2020 assembly election.

“The new president will be a young leader who can be groomed for bigger roles in future,” this leader said.

Bihar is one of the very few states that BJP lost after winning the national election in 2014. The BJP was pitted against a combine of the JD(U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in the 2015 assembly election and lost. Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) later broke off with Lalu Prasad’s RJD and teamed up with the BJP to form the government.

First Published: Sep 05, 2019 09:09 IST