Having suffered reverses in recent bypolls, the BJP moved to rejig its organisations in two states where assembly elections are due later this year, as it appointed a new party president in Madhya Pradesh today and appeared set to bring in a new chief in Rajasthan.
BJP president Amit Shah appointed Rakesh Singh, the party's chief whip in the Lok Sabha, as the head of its Madhya Pradesh unit, replacing Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, who had been at the helm since August 2014.
A party statement said that Rajasthan party chief Ashok Parmani and K Hari Babu, who recently resigned as Andhra Pradesh BJP chief, besides Chauhan have been made members of its national executive.
Parmani today resigned as chief of party's Rajasthan unit. Sources said new heads of the party in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh will be announced soon.
"I have worked for strengthening the party as its worker. I will continue to work in accordance with the responsibilities given to me as a disciplined party worker," Parnami, who had been appointed as Rajasthan BJP chief in February 2014 and is an MLA from Jaipur's Adarsh Nagar constituency, said.
Asked if his resignation was a fallout of the BJP's defeat in the recent Lok Sabha bypolls in Alwar and Ajmer, Parnami said, "Any defeat or victory is a collective responsibility and individuals are not responsible."
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Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who was in contention for the post of the party president in Madhya Pradesh, will be its campaign committee chief, sources said.
Rakesh Singh (55), a three-term MP representing Jabalpur in the Lok Sabha, is seen as a dynamic leader with vast organizational experience and the party hopes that he will be able to use its strong organisation in the state to ward off damage due to any perceived anti-incumbency in the state.
According to sources in Bhopal, Singh's name was finalised at the BJP's state core group meeting in the state capital last night. The meeting was also attended by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and BJP organisational secretary Ram Lal. Elections to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly will be held by the end of the year.
The BJP is in power in the state for 15 years and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has led it to convincing victories in the 2008 and 2013 assembly polls.
However, the party's loss in a string of bypolls coupled with agitations by farmers and then Dalits has given the opposition Congress hope that it can breach the saffron fortress this time.
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The BJP is believed to be facing a much stronger challenge in Rajasthan, underlined recently in its loss in the two Lok Sabha bypolls.Party sources said a revamp of the organisation is likely in the state.
Rajasthan too will go to the polls later this year. In Andhra Pradesh, the party has been left without an ally and hopes to strengthen its organisation under a new president.
It has claimed that the decision of the Telugu Desam Party to break ties with it has given the party an opportunity to broaden its base and appeal.