Despite being a politically crucial state with no less than 80 Lok Sabha seats, UP has received a raw deal in the new ‘Team BJP’ constituted by the party’s new national chief Rajnath Singh.
And the irony is heightened by the fact that the strapping Rajput himself hails from the state and hence is only too well aware of the possible fall-out of his decision.
Nonetheless, Rajnath deserves kudos for having dared to drop deadwood like Vinay Katiyar and Kalraj Mishra, who have been getting prized organisational posts in the party on account of their prominent status. But at the grass roots level they proved to be a big zero and failed to carve out even one constituency despite remaining in the party and active politics for well over four decades.
Also facing the axe was former Union Minister and Bareilly MP Santosh Gangwar. However, the BJP president has failed to replace the dead wood with fresh and energetic faces.
Interestingly, barring Rajnath himself, hardly any leader from the BJP’s UP unit has been elevated to the key posts of the party’s national general secretaries and vice-presidents even though some political nonentities too have made it to the list of the new secretaries. And one of them is Vinod Kumar Pandey, who has never contested any election and is hardly a known face even in BJP circles. His only claim to political fame is his USP as a staunch Rajnath loyalist. Similarly, Varun Gandhi, who is the BJP MP from Pilibhit, has received due consideration from Rajnath apparently as a result of him being a member of the Nehru-Gandhi clan.
Soon after it emerged that he had been dropped from the list of the office-bearers of the BJP’s national team, a deeply frustrated Vinay Katiyar said: “Gandhi pariwar ka asar to rahta hi hai”(the charishma of the Gandhi family cannot be overlooked).
Katyar was, of course, referring to the preferential treatment accorded to Varun. Also missing from the new BJP list are the names of Ramapati Ram Tripathi, Hridaya Narain Dixit and Yogi Adityanath.
For the sake of organisational convenience, the BJP had divided the state mainly into four regions -- Western UP, Eastern UP, Bundelkhand and Central UP. Except for Varun from Pilibhit in Western UP, the leaders belonging to other regions have been largely overlooked in the revamp.
Rajnath, though, has got his longtime political adviser Sudhanshu Diwedi appointed as the BJP spokesman.