New Delhi: Ahead of crucial Assembly elections and the Lok Sabha polls next year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday appointed new state presidents for Jharkhand, Telangana, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.
Union minister G. Kishan Reddy was made the party’s state president of Telangana, senior BJP leader D. Purandeshwari will be the new Andhra Pradesh BJP president and former chief minister of Jharkhand, Babulal Marandi, was given the responsibility of that state.
Veteran Sunil Jakhar, who switched to the BJP from the Congress last year, will be head of Punjab. Jakhar has been the state unit’s Congress chief in the past and will replace Ashwani Kumar Sharma.
Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N.T. Rama Rao’s daughter D. Purandeswari replaced Somu Veeraraju as the new state BJP president.
BJP has appointed another former Andhra chief minister, Kiran Kumar Reddy, as member of the National Executive Committee of the BJP. The last chief minister of a unified Andhra Pradesh, Reddy joined the BJP in April this year.
In Telangana – which goes to polls later in 2023 – the BJP has battled intense factionalism under former state president Sanjay Bandi. G. Kishan Reddy’s takeover as new chief is a nod to the fact that he has a strong support base in party ideologue, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
However, Kishan Reddy’s appointment as Telangana chief hints that he may be divested of the Tourism ministry in a possible Cabinet reshuffle.
The party also appointed MLA and former state minister Etela Rajender as the chairperson of the BJP’s election management committee in Telangana.
Marandi is currently serving as the Leader of Opposition in Jharkhand and has also been its chief minister. He will replace Deepak Prakash as the new Jharkhand BJP chief.
After the poll debacle in Karnataka, the BJP is pulling out the stops for the upcoming state and general elections. It has also convened a meeting of all state presidents, state general secretaries, and state in-charges on 7 July. The meeting will be chaired by party president J.P. Nadda and national general secretary B.L. Santosh.