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With Eye on 2024 Polls, BJP Gives Savvy Strategist Sunil Bansal Charge of Bengal, Odisha, Telangana

By: Pragya Kaushika

News18.com

Last Updated: August 10, 2022, 19:45 IST

New Delhi, India

As a seasoned strategist who has his ears to the ground and the ability to deliver according to the plan devised by the top rung, Bansal is expected to work more closely with the top leadership, especially with Amit Shah.  File pic/IANS

As a seasoned strategist who has his ears to the ground and the ability to deliver according to the plan devised by the top rung, Bansal is expected to work more closely with the top leadership, especially with Amit Shah. File pic/IANS

While Bansal has been moved closer to the party's top brass, he has been replaced by Dharam Pal, general secretary (organisation), as UP’s Sangathan Mantri

In what is being seen as a very significant organisational appointment, the Bharatiya Janata Party has brought in its leader and strategist Sunil Bansal as national general secretary in the party fold. Bansal had a long stint as general secretary (organisation) of Uttar Pradesh. He has been replaced by Dharam Pal, general secretary (organisation), as UP’s Sangathan Mantri.

While the reshuffling of responsibilities was on the cards for quite some time, senior party sources said that negotiations on the responsibilities with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections took some time, to decide the right man for the right post.

Bansal, many in the party believe, has been rewarded for his organisational tasks that helped the BJP win election after election following the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in a crucial state like UP that sends 80 MPs to Parliament. An erstwhile Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) karyakarta working in Rajasthan, he rose in stature when Amit Shah chose him for 2014 election tasks in UP.

For Bansal, learning about caste intricacies was not tough given his background of Rajasthan where caste plays a dominant role in elections as well. Sources stated that Bansal too was waiting for his new posting. “Do you not get bored with one task for a very long time and when you have seen and learnt everything? There is a yearning for more learning,” he had reportedly said.

Appointments with focus on 2024 Lok Sabha polls

Sources in the party believe that there is a bigger game plan behind not giving Bansal another posting as Sangathan Mantri or bringing him as deputy to BL Santhosh, general secretary (organisation).

Bansal has been made incharge of West Bengal, Telangana, and Odisha. While the BJP is striving to remain the principal opposition party in Bengal, leaders felt the void of a central leader to keep the party united. There had been a sense among the local leaders that they had been abandoned by the central leadership after the 2021 assembly polls. West Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats and the party won 18 of them in 2019. With Bansal made incharge here, many hope that the party’s fortunes will improve.

The BJP is very hopeful of a victory in Telangana where assembly elections will be held in 2023 and parliamentary polls in 2024. The state has 17 Lok Sabha constituencies.

Odisha has 21 Lok Sabha seats and the BJP holds eight of them.

As a seasoned strategist who has his ears to the ground and the ability to deliver according to the plan devised by the top rung, Bansal is expected to work more closely with the top leadership, especially with Shah.

Dharam Pal, an ABVP worker who knows Uttar Pradesh well

According to a senior ABVP functionary who had worked with him and seen his rise, Dharam Pal played a significant role in ensuring the BJP’s victory in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

“In November 2016, it was Pal who had organised the biggest sabha of approximately 1 lakh people in UP ahead of polls. He started an experiment among the youth. He began mobilisation of youngsters on a large scale and started Chhatra Samvad before organising the rally. The gist of the discussions became an agenda for the BJP in elections,” stated the functionary.

Dharam Pal, who hails from Kannauj, had various responsibilities in ABVP. He was Prant Sangathan Mantri and was looking after Western UP. He had been Kshetriya Sangathan Mantri with Lucknow as his base. Sources close to the new general secretary (organisation) of UP say that he is an efficient organisational man who was sent to Jharkhand as Sangathan Mantri. Pal, though, may have to face many challenges – with maintaining a balance between government and organisation and also between state and Centre.

Karamveer, a quintessential organisation man

Karamveer, joint general secretary (organisation), Uttar Pradesh, has been promoted as Jharkhand’s general secretary (organisation). While there were talks of him being promoted to the post of Bansal, many believe that he was moved out due to internal politics.

“Also, he could not be continued on the post as Karamveer is senior to Dharam Pal in the unit,” said a senior party leader. Sources in the BJP believe that Jharkhand is on the radar of the party with the shaky position of the ruling JMM-Congress alliance in the state, and thus the party needed an experienced man to strengthen the organisation till it comes to power.

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first published:August 10, 2022, 19:39 IST
last updated:August 10, 2022, 19:45 IST