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'Would Double up as Dasharath in New Role': Bansidhar Bhagat Appointed Uttarakhand BJP Unit President

Bansidhar Bhagat (68), who is popular as the epic character ‘Dasharath’ that he plays in Ramlilas in his hometown Haldwani in Nainita, is a six-time legislator.

Anupam Trivedi | News18

Updated:January 17, 2020, 7:47 AM IST
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'Would Double up as Dasharath in New Role': Bansidhar Bhagat Appointed Uttarakhand BJP Unit President
Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat with newly elected state BJP president Bansidhar Bhagat. (News18)

Dehradun: After days of internal conflicts, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttarakhand elected veteran leader Bansidhar Bhagat on Thursday as the state unit president.

Bhagat (68), who is popular as the epic character ‘Dasharath’ that he plays in Ramlilas in his hometown Haldwani in Nainital, is a six-time legislator. As the eighth president of the state unit, he said he would try to double up as ‘Dasharath’ (Lord Ram’s father and king of Ayodhya) in his new role.

“I will try best to take along every worker as a head of the family similar to my character Dasharath that I play in Ramayana,” Bhagat told News18, minutes after he was elected after a high voltage drama at the party office.

He has been minister in undivided Uttar Pradeesh, before being offered cabinet roles in the newly carved out Uttarakhand in 2000. He was a minister of state (food and civil supplies) in the Kalyan Singh-led BJP government in 1996. Later, he was appointed as transport minister after the BJP came to power in Uttarakhand and was in charge between 2007 and 2012.

Sources said Bhagat was keen on a ministerial berth in the Trivendra Singh Rawat cabinet. However, he was given charge of the state BJP unit by replacing Ajay Bhatt. Bhatt may not be happy with the arrangement as he was seeking another term as BJP president.

“There was no logic to become minister for only two years (the term of the current dispensation would come to an end in 2022). So I preferred to become party president and ensure the party’s victory in the next election,” he said.

Bhagat is a Brahmin who hails from Kumaon while Rawat is a Rajput from Garhwal. In Uttarakhand’s politics, it is considered prudent to balance both the castes and regions. The Congress and BJP have always tried to do so while picking the candidates for assigned roles.

The BJP is now hoping Bhagat’s elevation would help keep Brahmins and the Kumaon region, in particular, happy.

Earlier in the day party, top leaders, including Union ministers Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Arjun Meghwal, worked hard to pacify senior functionaries like former MLA Kailash Sharma and ex-RSS pracharak Kailash Pant.

Pant was reportedly demanding that the party consider ‘young’ leaders like him in spite of ‘veterans’ like Bhagat for the state party president’s post.

With three ministerial positions lying vacant in the cabinet, rumours are rife that the CM may soon expand his cabinet to placate disappointed party leaders.

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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