Special Correspondent

Tells MLAs to adopt aggressive posture against Govt.

  • New leader vows to bring back BJP on the rails
  • No need to feel despondent over poll results: Kalyan Singh

    LUCKNOW: The BJP Legislature Party in Uttar Pradesh saw a change of guard on Wednesday with senior leader and former Minister Om Prakash Singh being unanimously elected as its leader. Mr. Om Prakash Singh replaces Lalji Tandon, who was the Leader of the Opposition in the 14th Vidhan Sabha.

    The election was conducted by BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde in the presence of the newly elected MLAs and party vice-presidents M. Venkaiah Naidu and Kalyan Singh.

    Mr. Om Prakash Singh belongs to the Kurmi backward caste and is a former president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP. He is an MLA from Chunar in Mirzapur district.

    His name was proposed by Mr. Tandon and seconded by the party's leader in the Vidhan Parishad (Upper House) Naipal Singh and the former Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha Rajesh Agarwal.

    Addressing legislators, Mr. Tandon said he had played his innings as the leader of the party's legislative wing and wanted a new incumbent to take over.

    Thanking the MLAs for the unanimous election, Mr. Om Prakash Singh advised them to adopt an aggressive posture against the Mayawati Government when the inaugural session of the 15th Vidhan Sabha begins on May 21. He vowed to bring the BJP back on the rails and stressed the need for a concerted approach.

    Collective leadership

    Stating that the BJP believed in collective leadership, Mr. Om Prakash Singh said he would take his fellow MLAs into confidence before arriving at a decision.

    The former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh felt there was no need to feel despondent over the election results. He said preparations for the Lok Sabha polls in 2009 and the next Assembly elections should begin forthwith. He said the BJP alone fulfilled the role of the Opposition during the Samajwadi Party regime and would continue to do so when the House session begins.

    Mr. Om Prakash Singh has been a strong votary of the social engineering formula. However, his stint as the U.P. BJP chief in the late 90s was cut short following opposition from the upper caste lobby in the party. Despite holding key portfolios in the ministries headed by Mr. Kalyan Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta and Rajnath Singh, as well as in the BSP-BJP coalition Government led by Ms. Mayawati, Mr. Om Prakash Singh was virtually sidelined as far as the party's organisational matters were concerned.

    The BJP has 49 MLAs in the new House.