New Delhi: Gearing up for the upcoming state assembly polls, the BJP on has announced its organisational spearheads for the crucial elections, naming four Union Ministers – Dharmendra Pradhan, Pralhad Joshi, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Bhupender Yadav – in-charge of the contest in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Manipur respectively.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been given the charge of the Goa polls.
The party also drafted in a number of Union Ministers and other leaders to assist them in the campaign, with Anurag Singh Thakur, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Shobha Karandlaje and Annpurna Devi Yadav along with Saroj Pandey, Vivek Thakur and Captain Abhimanyu made co-incharges for the polls in Uttar Pradesh, a statement said.
BJP’s co-incharges for the polls in Uttar Pradesh, where caste has traditionally played a key role, represent a diverse mix of castes, including Brahmin, Thakur, Yadav and Dalit.
The focus on the all-important Uttar Pradesh polls was apparent in the announcement made by the BJP as it also appointed organisational in-charges for its six regions.
MP Sanjay Bhatia, Bihar MLA Sanjiv Chaurasia, BJP national secretaries Y Satya Kumar and Arvind Menon, UP leader Sunil Ojha and the party’s co-treasurer Sudhir Gupta will head the western Uttar Pradesh, Braj, Awadh, Gorakhpur, Kashi and Kanpur regions respectively.
Leaders like Pradhan, an Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader from Odisha, and Yadav, also from OBC category, are veterans of many state poll campaigns and have been involved in their election strategy often.
West Bengal MP Locket Chatterjee and party spokesperson R P Singh are co-incharges for the Uttarakhand polls. Fadnavis will be assisted by Union ministers G Kishan Reddy and Darshana Jardosh.
Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik and Assam government minister Ashok Singhal will be co-incharges for the Manipur polls, the party statement said.
Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Meenakshi Lekhi have been named co-incharges for the Punjab polls along with MP Vinod Chavda. The BJP is at the receiving end of the farmers’ protests against three farm laws in Punjab, a state which is seen as the most affected by the stir.
The saffron party has been pulling out all the stops to emerge as a strong force in Punjab which is set for a multi-cornered contest among the ruling Congress, AAP, Shiromani Akali Dal-BSP alliance and the BJP.
The party is in power in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur and has deployed its well-oiled election machinery to retain power there.
While its main challengers in Uttar Pradesh are Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party with the Congress trying hard to shore up its base, the BJP is in direct contest with the Congress in Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. Regional parties also play an important role in Goa.