New Delhi: The BJP central leadership believes that the change of leadership in the party’s Chhattisgarh unit will end the infighting and factionalism ahead of next year’s assembly polls. Last week, the BJP appointed Lok Sabha Member Arun Sao as new president of its Chhattisgarh unit. He will replace Vishnu Deo Sai.
The BJP central leadership believes that while Sao’s appointment will help in ending infighting and factionalism within the party it will also help in getting OBC communities which constitutes over 40 per cent of state population.
Newly appointed Chhattisgarh BJP president Sao is not considered close or part of any camp in the state.
The BJP has ruled Chhattisgarh for 15 years from 2003 to 2018. Chhattisgarh assembly polls will be held in November-December 2023.
Defeat in recent Khairagarh by-polls held in April had raised the concern for the BJP for next year assembly polls as the assembly constituency falls under the home district of former chief minister Raman Singh.
Singh, who is currently BJP national vice-president, was chief minister for 15 years. BJP politics in Chhattisgarh revolved around Singh for almost two decades and he still holds influence in the state unit.
A senior functionary said that the Khairagarh assembly by-poll result had sent a strong message to its Chhattisgarh unit that the BJP house is not in order and it needs to be placed in order before next year’s assembly polls.
“After considering every possibility, the BJP central leadership has decided to change the state president. If things are not improved, then more changes will take place in coming months,” he said.
It is learnt that a major reshuffle will take place at an organisational level from district to state unit in Chhattisgarh BJP under Sao’s leadership. There is also a strong buzz that leader of opposition in assembly Dharamlal Kaushik, who is close to former chief minister Singh, may also be replaced to make way for someone else.
“Kaushik failed to corner the Baghel government inside the state assembly. Party is considering making someone leader of the opposition who can intensify attacks on Baghel government in the assembly while Sao will attack the government outside,” a senior party leader said.
Another senior functionary said that currently OBC communities supporting chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and BJP leadership has for long wanted to develop community leadership in the party.
A BJP leader claimed that in Chhattisgarh, OBCs constitute around 45 per cent of total followed by 33 per cent tribals and over 10 per cent scheduled castes.
Many in the party feel that the decision to make Droupadi Murmu first tribal woman President of the country will help in getting the community vote. Similarly Sao’s appointment will also help in making inroads in OBC votes.
“By the support of OBC and tribals, the BJP will definitely dislodge the Baghel government in next year’s assembly polls,” he added.