Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s close confidant and BJP general secretary Amit Shah has been given the charge of Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Shah is facing several criminal charges.
BJP president Rajnath Singh’s decision to put Mr. Modi’s chosen person to manage the party affairs in a State which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha ahead of the 2014 general election is yet another signal that Mr. Modi would play a larger role at the national level in the coming months.
Another highlight in the list of leaders in-charge of States, conveners and in charge of its various frontal organisations announced here on Sunday is the appointment of the party leader from Andhra Pradesh Bandaru Dattatreya as vice-president. He has been made in-charge of Kerala.
The Gujarat Chief Minister’s appeal outside his State would to some extent be tested in four of the five Assemblies where elections are due before year-end. In Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (where the party is in power), and Rajasthan and Delhi (where it is the main opposition party) the stakes for the BJP are very high.
However, barring Delhi, it is difficult to measure the appeal of Mr. Modi in the poll-bound States as the BJP State units are strong with leaders like Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
Varun Gandhi, who was embroiled in a controversy over hate speeches in Uttar Pradesh, has been appointed in-charge of West Bengal, where the Trinamool Congress is in power.
Party leader Ananth Kumar has been moved out of Bihar and made in-charge of Madhya Pradesh, which will go for elections in the next few months. Rajya Sabha member J.P. Nadda has been appointed in-charge of Chhattisgarh.
The former Uttar Pradesh BJP chief, Ramapati Ram Tripathi, considered close to Mr. Rajnath Singh, has been made in-charge of Jharkhand.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy has been appointed in-charge of the crucial State of Maharashtra, where the Congress and the NCP are in power.
Rajasthan got a new party in-charge in Captain Singh. Actor-turned MP Smriti Irani will be the in-charge of Goa while another party leader S.S. Ahluwalia will be the in-charge of Assam.
Rajya Sabha member Dharmendra Pradhan has been made in-charge of Bihar in place of Mr. Ananth Kumar. Veteran Thawar Chand Gehlot has been given the charge of Karnataka.
Shrikant Sharma will continue to be the convener of the party’s media cell.