Uttar Pradesh Deputy Prime Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Sunday tweeted a cryptic line: “The organization is bigger than the government!” His tweet has sparked intense political speculation over who will become the new BJP state chief to replace Swatantra Dev Singh as the saffron party charts its course for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
से बड़ा है!
— Keshav Prasad Maurya (@kpmaurya1) August 21, 2022
If Maurya is elected, it will be a case of one leader from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) replacing another – a continuation of the BJP’s current UP arithmetic. While the exact context of Maurya’s musings is not clear, his tweet is seen as a way to get a message across. It can be assumed that he wants to play a role in the organization rather than in government.
Maurya was the BJP president of the state when the party took a record win in the 2017 parliamentary elections. He then became deputy CM on Yogi Adityanath’s first coming as CM. He retained that position this year despite losing his election, while the party remained in power under Yogi. This was seen as a sign of how important Maurya and the OBCs remain to the BJP.
Adityanath has two deputies in UP, one of them is Maurya and the other is Brahmin leader Brajesh Pathak. Among the names circulating for the BJP state chief is Dinesh Sharma, a Brahmin leader who, along with Maurya, was deputy CM in the previous government. Caste will therefore be one of the most important factors as it remains politically relevant in UP.
Also, sources said regional and caste calculations will be the driving force in the party’s choice of replacing Singh, who is a minister. A party leader said the BJP remains dominant in Uttar Pradesh and added that its national leadership has always prioritized strong coordination between the party’s organizational apparatus and state governments for electoral success.
With Adityanath’s shares soaring after the BJP’s emphatic victory in the previous election polls, the party is looking to maintain its dominance over its divided rivals in India’s largest state who have been central to its big wins in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014 and 2019.
Hence, shortly after the BJP’s traditional calculation in Bihar was turned upside down after the JD(U) dumped it and teamed up with the RJD-Congress-Left combination, the top of the party changes in brought about by different states. In recent weeks, the BJP has appointed state presidents in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh and shuffled people in crucial positions in several states, including UP, Telangana, Karnataka and West Bengal.
Sunil Bansal, the high-profile general secretary of the party in charge of the organization, was given a national role. This is in recognition of Adityanath’s preeminence in state affairs for his confidence in Bansal’s abilities amid talks of differences between the two leaders on various issues.
Bansal has now been put in charge of Telangana, West Bengal and Odisha, three states ruled by different regional parties and marked by the BJP for the next round of enlargement.
The BJP made these major changes to address organizational issues and emerging political challenges ahead of the 2024 elections. In a recent headline revamp of the parliamentary council, the party left union minister Nitin Gadkari and the prime minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, disregarded.
However, the BJP has also made its top organizational body more socially and regionally representative. For the first time, non-upper castes have a majority in government as the party continues to reach traditionally weaker and backward sections of society.
(with PTI inputs)
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