BJP appoints 'OBC' Swatantra Dev Singh its UP chief

Swatantra Dev Singh (Image Courtesy:Wikimedia)

Apparently looking to consolidate its OBC vote bank, that contributed largely to its massive victory in Uttar Pradesh in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, BJP on Tuesday appointed state minister Swatantra Dev Singh, an OBC, as its next UP president.

Singh replaces Mahendra Nath Pandey, who is a minister in the union cabinet.

Hailing from the powerful 'Kurmi' community, which formed around five per cent of the electorate in the state, Singh was currently a minister in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet and held transport portfolio.

Born in 1964 in UP's Mirzapur district, Singh chose Jalaun district in the backward Bundelkhand region in the state as his workplace.

A long-time RSS worker, Singh was the in-charge of the BJP during the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls. The saffron party had won 28 of the 29 LS seats in MP.

UP BJP sources said that Singh's appointment on the top organisational post in the state had been made with the aim of ''consolidating'' the party's OBC vote bank.

''The OBC community, barring the yadavs, played a crucial role in ensuring a massive mandate for us in the UP assembly polls in 2017 as well as the recent general elections,'' said a senior state BJP leader while speaking to DH here.

Sources in the saffron party said that Singh's appointment would also help the party make a dent into the 'Kurmi' vote bank of Apna Dal (AD), which was BJP's alliance partner in the state.

The Apna Dal, which was a party of 'kurmis' only, had played hardball just before the LS polls and had sought to drive a hard bargain by demanding more number of seats in UP. 

The AD president Anupriya Patel, who was a minister in the previous Modi government, was not considered this time. Singh's appointment was a ''message'' to the AD also, BJP sources said.

BJP's new UP president was 'Congress' once

BJP's new Uttar Pradesh unit president Swatantra Dev Singh' name was 'Congress Singh' in his early life.

Singh changed his name after he came into contact with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

His new name was inspired by the newspaper in which he used to work. Before joining politics Singh used to work in 'Swatantra Bharat', a Hindi newspaper, published from UP.

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