LUCKNOW:In a deft political move, the BJP appointed Union education and skill development minister Dharmendra Pradhan, a prominent OBC face in the Narendra Modi cabinet, as the party in charge of UP elections due in the next few months. Pradhan, BJP sources said, would strategically work as a connecting link between the central government and the UP BJP organization.
The development potentially trains the spotlight on BJP’s consistent attempts to consolidate the OBC vote bank which accounts for over 42% of the total voting population in a politically crucial state. This is also seen as a saffron outfit’s counter to UP regional political outfits, including SP and BSP’s aggressively overt attempts to woo the Brahmins, which, otherwise, have been voting in favour of the BJP since the Ayodhya temple movement in the early 90s.
Earlier, the BJP had inducted three OBC leaders — BL Verma (Lodh), Pankaj Chaudhary (Kurmi) and Anupriya Patel (Kurmi) — in the Modi cabinet rejig, effected in July, in what relayed clear signals about OBC weighing heavily in the electoral arithmetic of the party
A native of Angul district in Odisha, Pradhan represents Madhya Pradesh in Rajya Sabha. He was earlier Union petroleum minister and is credited for successfully implementing Centre’s flagship Ujjwala scheme — envisaging free gas connection to the rural households– which had played a key role in the electoral success of the BJP in the 2017 UP assembly elections and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Pradhan will be closely assisted by seven co-in charges, including Union IT minister Anurag Thakur and three ministers of state — Arjun Ram Meghwal (parliamentary affairs), Shobha Karandlaje (agriculture and farmer welfare) and Annapurna Devi (education).
The party has tried to strike a caste balance while constituting the team. While Anurag Thakur happens to be from the Kshatriya community, Arjun Ram Meghwal is a Dalit and has been representing Bikaner since 2009 after resigning from the IAS. Saroj Pandey, on the other hand, is a Brahmin from Chhattisgarh and is at present a BJP Rajya Sabha member. She had represented the Durg constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Shobha Karandlaje is considered a prominent face of Vokkaliga, a forward caste, in Karnataka and represents Udupi Chikmagalur in the Lok Sabha. Captain Abhimanyu, a former minister in the Haryana government is a Jat, while Annapurna Devi is an OBC (Yadav) and is a Lok Sabha MP, representing Koderma seat in Jharkhand. Vivek Thakur, BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar, is a Bhumihar.
Besides being hailing from states other than UP, the team members, experts pointed out, are relatively young leaders — all the members are in the age bracket of 51 to 57 years. “The party has primarily been focussing on bringing young leadership to the forefront while being backed by experienced brass,” said a senior BJP leader.
This team, sources said, will work in close coordination with the BJP vice-president Radha Mohan Singh, who is also party’s UP in-charge and UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh in mobilising the cadre to take on an assertive opposition. At the same time, the BJP also appointed a party organisation in charge each for six regions of UP. While Karnal (Haryana) MP Sanjay Bhatia will take care of the West UP region, Sanjeev Chaurasia, who is MLA from Digha assembly seat in Bihar has been tasked to work in the Braj region. BJP’s national secretary Y Satya Kumar will look after the Awadh region, while Sudhir Gupta, BJP’s national co-treasurer will work in Kanpur. For the Gorakhpur region, the responsibility has been given to Arvind Menon, the party’s national secretary, while Sunil Ojha, who is also UP’s co-in-charge will take charge of the Kashi region.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here