HYDERABAD: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday preferred veteran Sangh leader Bandaru Dattatreya to revive the fortunes of the State unit which has declined ever since its debacle in the 2004 general election.
Mr. Dattatreya, who rose from the ranks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, was chosen over his younger aspirant K. Laxman to be president of the BJP's State unit for the second time on Thursday. He was elected State party chief in 1997 and remained in that position for 18 months. The former Union Minister, who served in the Vajpayee Government, replaces N. Indrasena Reddy on completion of his three-year term. His election was a foregone conclusion after the party's top leaders confabulated with the State leaders and evolved a consensus in keeping with the party's tradition.
Mr. Dattatreya's unanimous election was announced by returning officer Thirunavukkarsar, MP, amidst applause at the BJP office. Former BJP presidents Bangaru Laxman and M. Venkaiah Naidu and BJP spokesperson and in-charge of AP affairs Prakash Javadekar were also present. Soon after the announcement, several BJP leaders congratulated Mr. Dattatreya and scores of party activists garlanded him and burst crackers.
Mr. Thirunavukkarsar also announced the election of 28 leaders to the national council and said the central party had authorised the State executive to fill 14 more vacancies to the national council.
Speaking after his election, 60-year-old Mr. Dattatreya declared that he would strive to ensure that BJP emerged as a strong force by the next Assembly elections.