BJP President Amit Shah has revamped organisational responsibilities and morchas in the party, with an apparent eye on states headed for elections over the next two years. The party has set up a morcha for backward classes, a politically significant section in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
While the party had six morchas, including the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes wings, this is the first time in its history that an OBC morcha has been set up. The OBCs in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had voted in large numbers for the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections when Narendra Modi, who himself belongs to the OBC community, was projected as Prime Ministerial candidate.
The move to set up a OBC morcha comes ahead of elections in Bihar, where the Janata Parivar constituents– Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav– could hold a sway over a large chunk of the nearly 50 per cent backward classe votes, which include the Yadavs, Kurmis and Koeris. In Uttar Pradesh, where elections are due in two years, also the OBC vote is crucial in an election which is four-cornered. While SP Singh Bhagel, a former BSP leader who joined BJP in Uttar Pradesh in the run up to the elections last year, will be president of the morcha, Sudha Yadav, a party secretary and leader from Haryana, has been made in-charge of the morcha.
While party general secretary Bhupendra Yadav continues to be in-charge of Bihar, CR Patil, a Lok Sabha MP from Gujarat, and party leader from Delhi Pawan Sharma, will be co-incharges of Bihar. In Uttar Pradesh, where Om Mathur is the in-charge, Shah has appointed five co-incharges.
Besides Bihar and UP, the party has set its eyes on West Bengal, where party general secretary Kailash Vijayavargiya, known for his organisational acumen, replaces Siddharth Nath Singh as in-charge of West Bengal. The party was hoping to take on the TMC and Left Front in the state, but the recent municipal polls indicated that it was still a fringe player. However, Singh, along with Suresh Pujari, has been made co-incharge in the state, sending a clear signal that the party was serious about its political plans in West Bengal.
Purandeshwari Devi, who was a minister in the former UPA government, has been made in-charge of the BJP’s women’s wing while Saroj Pande has been made in-charge of Maharashtra.
Ram Madhav is the only party general secretary who has not been given charge of any state. However, party sources said he was not in-charge of any state even earlier and had been taking care of overseas activities.