As the dust after the 2019 general election settles, all the parties are ready to take on the roles given according to the mandate of the Indian electorate. Several party organizational leaders of the ruling side are also taking over their new responsibilities in the government as Union Ministers. These include 4 BJP state unit Chiefs of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana and Maharashtra who would be joining PM Modi’s Council of Ministers.
Under the BJP’s ‘one person-one post’ principle, these leaders cannot simultaneously be ministers and state presidents, which ultimately leaves top organizational posts vacant in these important states. While the party allows MPs and MLAs to hold organizational posts — for instance, Amit Shah was BJP chief as well as a Rajya Sabha member — it is rare to be a part of the government and also occupy a party post.
Out of all the states, Uttar Pradesh certainly stands out partly because of its high population and evidently because of the political leverage that it holds in the Indian political landscape. With Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey making it to the Union Cabinet, all eyes are now on who will lead the party in the upcoming by-polls and further.
Uttar Pradesh BJP under the leadership of Mahendra Nath Pandey posted an impressive performance in the state with NDA winning on 62 parliamentary constituencies out of the total 80 in the state. As he takes charge as the skill development minister in the union government, BJP would surely be looking for names to replace him as the BJP chief of this giant state. Several names have been making round in the media of which includes ex-ministers and other senior functionaries of the party. Top contenders in the race are:
EX-MP, Vidyasagar Sonkar is currently a sitting MLC and UP BJP’s current general secretary. Considered close to the RSS, Vidyasagar Sonkar is a strong Dalit face in the party and can be instrumental in countering Mayawati’s BSP in the much important state assembly elections in 2022. Vidyasagar Sonkar was in-charge for all media activities during the polls, from ensuring proper press coverage of rallies and meetings of senior leaders, such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, to monitoring social media and news articles. He also decided the party’s official line on various issues and topics.
Swatantra Dev Singh
Swatantra Dev Singh was the in-charge of Madhya Pradesh for the 2019 general elections and under his leadership, BJP posted a sweeping 28 wins out of the total 29 in the state, despite losing the state assembly elections a few months back. He is a strong OBC face; he comes from the Kurmi caste and could be part of BJP’s plan to push out Apna Dal from Kurmi politics in the state. Swatantra Dev Singh comes to the table with strong ground level support and acceptance all across the state which makes him another top contender for the post.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma
Former Union Minister and second time MP from Gautam Buddha Nagar in UP is also in the race for the top post. After failing to accommodate Mahesh Sharma in the union council of ministers BJP is surely looking to rehabilitate the senior leader. Coming as a prominent Brahmin face, Mahesh Sharma is also likely to be in the list of top choices.
Laxman Acharya is a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council from the Varanasi Division Graduates Constituency in Varanasi district. Considered close to the RSS, he is also a regional president of Kashi Prant of BJP. Originally from Sonbhadra but has been living in Ramnagar area of Varanasi for many years now, Lakshman Acharya is related to the Kharwar tribes and because of his low profile and long organizational experience he can surely emerge as one of the top choices.