BJP revamp under Ananth likely

Bangalore June 26. The search by the BJP for a charismatic personality to head the State unit of the party for the next three years ended today with the selection of the Union Urban Development Minister, Ananth Kumar, by the party President, M. Venkaiah Naidu, after two rounds of consultations with State party leaders in Delhi today.

Mr. Kumar, who replaces Basavaraj Patil Sedam, has represented the Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency since 1996. Incidentally, Mr. Kumar, who will turn 45 next month, will be the youngest to hold the office.

According to party sources, the choice of Mr. Kumar was made after two rounds of consultations, one at the residence of Mr. Naidu in the morning, and another at the BJP office in the afternoon. The Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, was told about the choice when he visited the party office in the afternoon.

The party's action in announcing a new president a month ahead of schedule was defended by a senior leader, who said that the process of organisational elections, as it now stands, may go on till the first week of September, leaving very little time for the new president to prepare the party for elections to the Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha due in October 2004.

The possibility of early elections to the Assembly could not be ruled out, it was pointed out.

This, along with the dominant view in favour of restructuring the party, and the offer by Mr. Sedam, the incumbent, to resign to enable restructuring, had persuaded the national leadership to choose a new President ahead of schedule, sources said.

The former State unit President, B.S. Yediyurappa, whose name also prominently figured sometime ago as an aspirant for the post, had accepted the selection of Mr. Kumar, sources said.

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