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Dharmendra Pradhan is BJP’s top man for UP election, appoints largest ever team for state

BJP names 7 co-in-charges and 6 zonal organisation in-charges, all comprising Union ministers and top party leaders to help it clinch a successive govt in UP. Also names in-charges for 4 other states.

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New Delhi: The BJP Wednesday appointed Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan as its election in-charge for the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, which goes to polls next year, while also naming seven other co-in-charges — the highest ever in the party’s history.

Six organisational regional in-charges were also appointed for the state’s western region, Braj, Avadh, Kanpur, Gorakhpur and Kashi.

The BJP also named election in-charges for other poll-bound states: Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Shekhawat for Punjab, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi for Uttarakhand, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav for Manipur and former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis for Goa. Except for Punjab, the BJP is the incumbent government in all other states.

Also read: Modi govt’s pitch for 2022 UP election — booklet on how BJP worked for OBC welfare

Tall batting order in UP

If it was Pramod Mahajan who was the master poll strategist during the Kalyan Singh era, and Arun Jaitley before the arrival of Amit Shah, it is now up to Pradhan to deliver UP to the party.

Pradhan will have to steer the BJP through the turbulence it has been facing over its handling of the Covid pandemic, especially during the second wave, as well as the fall out from the ongoing farmers’ agitation over three agri reforms the Centre brought in last September. Unemployment and the economy, both of which were severely impacted by the pandemic, are also critical issues that threaten to split the party’s vote bank.

An OBC leader, Pradhan is an old hand when it comes to election management — he earlier managed polls in Bihar, the second important Hindi heartland state, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Karnataka, all of which are now BJP-ruled states.

“Dharmendra Pradhan has very sound experience of election management in several states. He is very familiar with UP and he will ensure victory of party. Unlike earlier, party has appointed several in-charge keeping in mind each region, for better coordination and effective campaign management. Since the most crucial part during the election is its management, more zonal resources will help in effective coordination,” said BJP’s UP vice-president Vijay Bahadur Pathak.

The BJP also announced seven co-in-charges — Union ministers Anurag Thakur, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Shobha Karandlaje and Annpurna Devi, Rajya Sabha MPs Saroj Pande and Vivek Thakur, and former Haryana minister Capt Abhimanyu.

These appointments show the party’s caste arithmetic: Meghwal is a Dalit, Anurag is a Thakur leader, Abhimanyu is a Jat leader, Devi an OBC leader, and Vivek a Bhumihar leader.

Six zonal organisation in-charges have also been appointed — Karnal Lok Sabha MP Sanjay Bhatia, Bihar MLA Sanjiv Chaurasia, party national secretaries Satya Kumar and Arvind Menon, party leader Sunil Arora and national treasurer Sudhir Gupta. The party’s national V-P Radha Mohan Singh has also been tasked with managing the election.

Also read: Brahmins in focus, Mayawati begins UP poll campaign amid Sanskrit mantras, Jai Shri Ram chants

Other states appointments

In Uttarakhand, party spokesperson R.P. Singh and Lok Sabha MP Locket Chatterjee have been appointed co-in-charges to Joshi.

In Punjab, three co-in-charges will help Shekhawat: Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Meenakshi Lekhi along with Gujarat Lok Sabha MP Vinod Chavda.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik and Assam Minister Ashok Singhal were appointed co-in-charges in Manipur. The assembly polls, due next year, are crucial for BJP which formed the government with support from Congress defectors.

In Goa, Union Culture Minister G. Kisan Reddy and Lok Sabha MP Darshana Vikram Jardosh were made co-in-charges.

(Edited by Manasa Mohan)

Also read: Why BJP has to win UP by a bigger margin than it did in 2017 election


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