New Delhi, August 25
The BJP on Thursday set in motion its 2024 general election strategy for Uttar Pradesh—the state that sends the largest number (80) MPs to the Lok Sabha—appointing Panchayati Raj Minister Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary as the state party president.
He replaced Swatantar Dev Singh, also a minister in the Yogi Adityanath government.
The appointment appears to have been done keeping in mind the western Uttar Pradesh region where the BJP faced issues in the 2022 Assembly election amid the farmers’ unrest.
Though the party did well on nearly 70 per cent of the constituencies in the region despite losing 15 seats, the Samajwadi Party and ally Rashtriya Lok Dal presented a considerable challenge.
This is Chaudhary’s second term as a minister in the state government. Sources say the second consecutive ministerial berth was an appreciation for his control over the Jat votes where the BJP did well despite the challenge.
The appointment of Chaudhary is also said to be a “sort of a middle-path arrangement given the ongoing tug-of-war between the state and the central leadership”.
Speculation of his appointment started soon after he was called to Delhi.
Notably, the names of Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and former power minister Shrikant Sharma were also doing the rounds for the key job in Uttar Pradesh.
His appointment is seen as being acceptable both to the central and the state leadership unlike some other names which were also discussed like Maurya or Sharma.
Counted among influential Jat leaders, he can prove to be an asset for the party in the western Uttar Pradesh region as he has around three decades of organisational experience.
He is a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council and has been associated with the RSS-affiliate Vishwa Hindu Parishad
He is also known to be close to Home Minister Amit Shah.