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HomePoliticsDebutant councillor replaces Manoj Tiwari as Delhi BJP chief, local brass ‘surprised’

Debutant councillor replaces Manoj Tiwari as Delhi BJP chief, local brass ‘surprised’

Starting the process of setting up his own national team, BJP president Nadda appointed state unit presidents of Delhi, Manipur and Chhattisgarh Tuesday. 

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New Delhi: Four months after he took over as the BJP president, J.P. Nadda sprung a surprise Tuesday with the appointment of a first-time councillor as Delhi BJP chief, replacing Lok Sabha MP Manoj Tiwari

Starting the process of setting up his own national team, Nadda also appointed state unit presidents of Manipur and Chhattisgarh. 

The three new appointees are Aadesh Gupta, a debutant councillor set to take over as Delhi BJP chief from Manoj Tiwari, Professor S. Tikendra for Manipur, and former union minister Vishnu Deo Sai in Chhattisgarh. 

Nadda took over as BJP chief from Home Minister Amit Shah on 29 January, and will serve a term of three years.

According to sources in the BJP, Nadda’s plans to carry out organisational changes were first halted by the Delhi assembly elections in February and later due to Covid-19, which effected a two-month lockdown beginning 25 March. The new appointments have been made in consultation with senior party leaders and the BJP’s ideological parent RSS, the sources said. 

Also Read: How JP Nadda became the face of BJP’s Delhi debacle on news channels

Caught by surprise

The appointment of Aadesh Gupta, a councillor from West Patel Nagar, as Delhi BJP chief has caught local senior leaders by surprise, sources in the BJP said. 

Gupta, who served as mayor of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation between 2018-19, is also a member of the standing committee that takes key decisions regarding the civic agency. Gupta contested his maiden municipal elections in 2017. He has also been associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the RSS, a senior BJP leader said.

“Everyone was surprised as the names of many senior leaders were doing the rounds. At the same time, he has only contested as a councillor and was earlier the party general secretary of the Karol Bagh district,” said the senior BJP leader. “In the past, the post of Delhi BJP chief has been held by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel, Vijender Gupta, among others,” the leader added. 

A second senior BJP leader noted that Gupta had the backing of BJP national vice-president Shyam Jaju and Delhi BJP general secretary (organisation) Sidharthan, who has his roots in the RSS. 

Differences between Sidharthan and Tiwari had come out in the open during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections after a number of poll committees were announced without taking the latter into confidence. Aadesh Gupta is also considered close to the RSS. 

“His being a Gupta also worked in his favour to counter Delhi CM Kejriwal,” said a third leader, referring to the fact that they belong to the trader community, which is said to hold much power in Delhi. 

“At the same time, his being a councillor will help prepare for the next municipal elections in 2022, which is all the more crucial now as the AAP government is in power in Delhi.” 

Gupta’s appointment came as his predecessor Tiwari held a press conference on the achievements of the Modi government. 

“The party, especially Sidharthan, wants to make the state unit chief position a low-key one. With Manoj Tiwari, the focus was also on him, whether it is the recent cricket controversy or inducting dancer Sapna Chaudhary, among others. The fact that Aadesh Gupta is close to the RSS also works in his favour,” said a fourth leader. 

The cricket controversy refers to an alleged lockdown violation by Tiwari when he travelled from Delhi to Sonepat to play cricket at a stadium last month. Tiwari, who was originally appointed to the post for a three-year term in November 2016, had defended his actions, saying he didn’t defy any lockdown guideline.

Also Read: JP Nadda must undo Congressisation of BJP under Amit Shah but shows no fire in the belly

Looking for his team

Among the other appointments, the new Chhattisgarh BJP chief Vishnu Deo Sai is considered close to former chief minister Raman Singh, and has served as state party chief twice in the past (2006-2013). 

According to sources, the party wanted to give the post to a tribal face. Deo has served as MP from Raigarh from 1999 to 2019 and as a minister during the first Modi government (2014-2019). 

Deo is also considered to be close to the RSS. Deo, the sources said, was the first to recommend his own name when the BJP asked senior leaders to offer suggestions on who should not be fielded for the Lok Sabha elections. He replaces incumbent Chhattisgarh BJP chief Vikram Usendi, who took over the post last year

Meanwhile, Nadda has already asked all state units to send in their suggestions for those who should be made part of the new organisational set-up and have been performing well in the states. 

“A letter has been sent to all the state units, asking them for their recommendations. It is likely that some of the names from the states will find a place at the national level,” said the second BJP leader quoted above. 

Another party leader said, with the lockdown restrictions being eased and elections for the Rajya Sabha also set to take place, the party is now in full gear to prepare for the Bihar assembly elections and the assembly byelections in Madhya Pradesh. Nadda, a party functionary said, has been conducting meetings to finalise the new team that is likely to be a mix of old and new. 

Also Read: Himachal setbacks to Delhi rise — how Modi-Shah favourite JP Nadda became BJP chief


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  1. Manoj Tiwari should have quit on his own , he simply did not look the part .In politics , as in life , it is more important to look the part , get the optics right than being just right .

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