Changes in BJP leadership in poll-bound Rajasthan, MP, AP

Party chief Amit Shah is yet to announce the replacements for Rajasthan and AP.

Effecting key changes in party organisation in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where it recently lost bypolls, BJP on Tuesday removed incumbent chiefs of the two states, who are considered close to Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje.

The BJP chief of Andhra Pradesh, where the party has fallen out with TDP and is facing pressure for not granting special category status to the newly carved out state, has also quit.

The three state chiefs -- Nandkumar Singh Chauhan (MP), Arvind Parnami (Rajasthan) and Haribabu (AP) -- who resigned from their posts before the reshuffle, have been accommodated in the National Executive. 

The changes in Rajasthan and MP come ahead of the bypolls later this year, where Congress is in a resurgent mood.

Replacing outgoing MP BJP chief Chauhan, who is considered close to Chief Minister Chouhan, the party named MP and its chief whip in Lok Sabha Rakesh Kumar Singh as head of the state unit. However, party chief Amit Shah is yet to announce the replacements for Rajasthan and AP.

Chauhan's removal was expected as it comes following party's poor show in the recent bypolls for Assembly. With the faction-ridden Congress in Madhya Pradesh putting up a largely united face this time, BJP may find the going tough as it encounters strong anti-incumbency after being in power for three consecutive terms.

Sources said the party needs a new face and Singh, who has earned the trust of party central leadership, will fit the bill. Earlier, there was speculation that Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar could head to MP to lead the party.

In Rajasthan, Parnami is considered close to Raje and the central leadership wants change as the party had lost two Lok Sabha bypolls in Alwar and Ajmer, where Congress recaptured the seats.

The change in Andhra Pradesh with the quitting of Haribabu comes at a time the BJP exited the state government following its bitter fallout with TDP. It is looking for a leader from the backward community.

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