Rakesh Singh is BJP MP unit chief; change in Rajasthan likely

BHOPAL: Three months after a bypoll debacle in two Lok Sabha seats and one assembly constituency left BJP embarrassed and battling a perception that it is losing ground in Rajasthan, the party’s state chief Ashok Parnami resigned, possibly making way for junior central minister for agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

In a parallel development, BJP announced the appointment of its Lok Sabha chief whip Rakesh Singh as chief of its Madhya Pradesh unit in place of Nand Kumar Chauhan. The developments in the two states where polls are due later this year seem to be an attempt to revamp the party organisation in the face of tough electoral battles. If Shekhawat is appointed, it will be seen as an attempt to assuage the Rajput community’s disenchantment that was seen as a significant factor in defeats in Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha bypolls.
BJP sources said careful thought had gone into Rakesh Singh’s selection. He is from Mahakaushal, where BJP aims to blunt Congress stalwart Kamal Nath’s influence. He is also an OBC, making it the first time that both the CM and ruling party chief are OBCs. “I have resigned on personal reasons but will continue to serve the party,’’ said Parnami. Both he and Chauhan were appointed members of BJP national working committee