BJP president JP Nadda today (25 August) appointed Bhupendra Chaudhary as the president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the party.
Currently, Chaudhary is also the Minister for Panchayati Raj in Yogi Adityanath's cabinet and a member of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.
Who is Bhupendra Chaudhary?
Chaudhary is considered to be old hand in the Uttar Pradesh BJP organisation.
Born in 1966 in a village in Moradabad district of western UP, Chaudhary was initially with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad before he joined the BJP in 1991.
Since then, he has served at various positions in the state BJP organisation.
In 1993, he was brought in as a member of the BJP Moradabad district working committee and was appointed as its treasurer in 1994. He was appointed the District General Secretary in 1995.
Between 1996 and 2000, he served as the president of Moradabad BJP. In this time, he also contested the Lok Sabha poll against Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, from Sambhal. Yadav had emerged in that contest.
Chaudhary served as the division convener for the BJP in the year 2000 and was appointed as Secretary (Western UP) in 2007.
In 2009, he unsuccessfully contested as the BJP candidate from Moradabad West assembly constituency bypoll.
Between 2010 and 2018 Bhupendra Chaudhary served as the regional president for four terms. In 2016, he was elected as an MLC and again, in 2022.
Chaudhary's role in western Uttar Pradesh and among the Jat community
Chaudhary is said to be one of the two prominent Jat faces in the UP BJP - the other being the MP from Muzaffarnagar, Sanjeev Balyan.
The farmers' protests of 2020-21 saw significant participation from the Jat communities of western UP.
However, in the Assembly elections of 2022, the BJP managed to post a good performance in the region, almost repeating the success of 2014, 2017, and 2019.
In the 126 seats across 24 districts of western Uttar Pradesh, the BJP won 85 (or 67 per cent).
While this was a less than the BJP's 2017 figure of 100 seats, it defied many pre-poll predictions which claimed that 'Jat anger' would lead to wipeout for the BJP in the region.
The party swept districts like Agra, Mathura, Aligarh, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar - all with significant Jat populations.
One of the leaders working in the region at the time was Bhupendra Chaudhary.
Preparation for 2024
Bhupendra Chaudhary's appointment as the UP BJP chief is also a step in the party's plans for the 2024 elections.
The BJP would almost certainly be facing an SP-RLD combine in western UP in the 2024 polls. Having a Jat leader from the same region is likely to go a long way in neutralising that electoral threat for the party.
Chaudhary's appointment is also being seen by many observers as an attempt by the BJP to strike a regional balance in its power structure in the state.
With Yogi Adityanath coming from eastern UP, many are not surprised that the post of the state party president goes to western part of the state.
Other speculations put to rest
Chaudhary's appointment also puts to rest many speculations that were going around regarding pending organisational changes in the UP BJP.
For example, recent tweets of UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya suggested that either he had been chosen as the new UP BJP president—a post he held earlier too—or that he was actively interested in the job.
However, with Bhupendra Chaudhary as the new president and Dharmpal Singh as the new General Secretary (Organisation), UP BJP's team for 2024 looks set.
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