Other States

BJP’s new U.P. chief, Swatantra Dev Singh, is an organisation man

Uttar Pradesh Minister and BJP leader Swatantra Dev Singh (right) with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during an event in Lucknow. File photo

Uttar Pradesh Minister and BJP leader Swatantra Dev Singh (right) with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during an event in Lucknow. File photo   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

He belongs to the Kurmi caste, the second largest OBC community in the State

After a successful stint with an upper caste State chief, the BJP has reverted to an OBC with a strong organisational background for the top post in Uttar Pradesh.

Swatantra Dev Singh, appointed the State party president on July 16, replaces Mahendra Nath Pandey, who was elevated to the Union Cabinet as Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Mr. Singh is an MLC and currently holds the post of MoS (Independent) in U.P. with the Transport, Protocol and Energy department portfolios.

He belongs to the Kurmi caste, the second largest OBC community in the State. His promotion provides fillip to the BJP’s grip over the numerically significant OBCs.

Mr. Pandey, a Brahmin, took over the post in 2017 after the BJP swept the Assembly election, winning 325 seats along with its allies. He had replaced Keshav Prasad Maurya, an OBC, who was rewarded with the post of Deputy Chief Minister in the Adityanath-led BJP government for the successful campaign.

RSS pracharak

Like Mr. Pandey and Mr. Maurya, Mr. Singh also comes from the RSS stable and has years of organisation work to his credit.

Born in 1964 in the eastern district of Mirzapur, Mr. Singh’s political work, however, has been focused in the Bundelkhand-Kanpur region. He has a B.SC degree from the Bundelkhand University in Jhansi.

In 1986, Mr. Singh started working as an RSS pracharak in Kanpur before being appointed the organisation secretary of the students wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, in 1989.

In 1991, he started to climb up the BJP ladder by first being appointed the party’s in-charge of its youth wing in Kanpur, before being given the task of the Bundelkhand region youth wing. In 1996, Mr. Singh was picked as the State BJP’s youth wing general secretary and then its State president in 2001.

Two-time MLC

Mr. Singh is a two-time MLC and since 2004 has also held the posts of State general secretary and U.P. vice-president.

He, however, is not known as a mass leader and neither has been embroiled in any major controversy.

In 2012, he contested the Assembly election from Kalpi seat in Bundelkhand but finished a dismal fourth, managing just over 14,000 votes.

He is known more for his organisation skills, and as one BJP source put it, “disciplined life and leadership.”

In 2014, Mr. Singh was in charge of Narendra Modi’s rallies in U.P. and for west U.P. in the 2017 Assembly polls.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, he was deputed to neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and helped the BJP sweep the State.

Mr. Pandey on Twitter hailed Mr. Singh as a “diligent and energetic soldier of the organisation.”

The first task of the new U.P. BJP chief will be to oversee the coming Assembly by-polls for 11 seats that were vacated after the incumbents were elected to the Lok Sabha this summer.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:31:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjps-new-up-chief-swatantra-dev-singh-is-an-organisation-man/article28497221.ece

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