Arun Jaitley to look after Assam and West Bengal

Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha — Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley — have been put, by the BJP, in charge of election-related matters in four States and one Union Territory going to the polls later this year.

While Mr. Jaitley will be in charge of Assam and West Bengal, Ms. Swaraj will look after Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry. The announcement was made by BJP president Nitin Gadkari at the party conclave here on Sunday.

Though there was talk earlier in the party of separation of the organisational and parliamentary wings, it is now clear that Mr. Jaitley and Ms. Swaraj are seen as indispensable even in organisational matters.

There is also an attempt to “balance” the assignments given to the two leaders, who are seen as rivals for the slot of the party's prime ministerial candidate.

Gopinath Munde will supervise poll-related matters in Goa. Tapir Gao from Arunachal Pradesh has been promoted as national general secretary to fill the vacancy caused by Arjun Munda, who has become Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

Mr. Gao's projection ahead of the Assam Assembly elections is viewed by party leaders as a signal that the BJP is serious about issues related to the Northeast. This is perhaps the first time that the party has a general secretary from the region.