CHANDIGARH: By appointing former state cabinet minister and Jat leader Om Parkash Dhankar
as the Haryana BJP president on Sunday, the saffron party has tried to make an attempt to balance the caste equations in the state where politics revolves around Jats - the most dominant caste in the state and non-Jats.
Also, the party continued with a Jat face as the outgoing president Subhash Barala was also a Jat.
A statement issued by BJP chief JP Nadda stated that OP Dhankar has been appointed as the Haryana unit president with immediate effect.
Sources in the party stated that by the appointment of former state agriculture minister Dhankar BJP has tried to keep the politically significant Jat community happy and the caste equations balanced as Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khatatr is a non-Jat and in Haryana Chief Ministers have mostly been Jats, except on few occasions.
A BJP leader said, "Especially after BJP’s debacle in most of the Jat dominated seats in last year’s assembly elections, this move by the party is trying to expand it’s base among Jats as they have their own base and appeal among the masses."
Sources pointed out that this time there is no Jat minister in Union government from Haryana as in NDA-I Chaudhary Birender Singh was part of the Modi cabinet.
In the state cabinet, JP Dalal MLA from Loharu is Cabinet minister and Kamlesh Dhanda is a Minister of State (MoS) from BJP. Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala from JJP and Power Minister Ranjit Chautala an Independent MLA, these four in the cabinet are from Jat community.
It is learned that Khattatr has recently met Nadda and had discussed the appointment of new state unit president. The names of many leaders were doing the rounds for this post that included former finance minister Capt Abhimanyu, two-time BJP MLA Mahipal Dhanda, Union Minister Krishan Pal Gujjar and Kurukshetra MP Nayab Singh Saini.
Also, Barala was among the front runners for the top party post.
The names of both these Jat leaders Dhankar and Abhimanyu were earlier considered for a Rajya Sabha seat but they did not get the tickets thus it had not gone well with the community.
Eight months ago the term of the present president Subhash Barala had ended and the party was looking for his replacement.
In 1996, Dhankar had joined BJP after eighteen years of association with RSS and had held important positions in the organization at both state and national level as he was national secretary, Pradesh Prabhari of Himachal Pradesh, State General Secretary and National President in various BJP and its affiliate
organizations including chief of the BJP’s Kisan Morcha.
Both Dhankar and Barala had both lost the last year’s assembly elections.
Haryana Chief Minister Khattar said, "I am completely confident that with cadres will benefit from your political experience and the Haryana BJP will emerge stronger in terms of organisation."