The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is continuously making efforts to regain its voter base in Chhattisgarh took an audacious decision in its internal high-level party meeting held at Kushabhau Thakre Parishar, Raipur on Wednesday and appointed OBC leader Narayan Chandel, an MLA from Janjgir-Champa as Leader of Opposition (LOA).
The decision was taken in the presence of Chhattisgarh BJP in charge D Purandeswari and all other prominent faces of the party, including national vice-president cum ex-Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh.
With this decision, the party high command tried to disseminate the message that it will help the party cadres to reclaim their lost rich electoral base, on the basis of which it ruled the state for 15 years.
OBC leader Chandel replaced outgoing LOA Dharamlal Kaushik, MLA from Bilha constituency.
Chandel was first elected as MLA in 1995 in undivided Madhya Pradesh and also served as Deputy Speaker in Chhattisgarh State Assembly. The OBC leader Chandel will now serve as the sixth LOA in the Chhattisgarh assembly, said a press release issued by BJP’s Chhattisgarh Unit.
Chandel’s name as LOA hasn’t surprised anybody within the party, his name was listed among the top four contestants out of fourteen MLAs, the party's internal sources said.
As the party was vying for a strong OBC leader to counter Baghel’s OBC politics, general category leaders like Dr Raman Singh, Shiv Ratan Sharma, Brijmohan Agarwal and others were out of context.
"Experiments with tribal leadership failed, and the party required a dauntless personality to implement its aggressive policy in the assembly, therefore he was chosen," a senior BJP leader said on the verge of anonymity.
Despite MLA Ajay Chandrakar’s name being enlisted among the top contenders, his profile was not considered for the post due to his alleged haughty image, the sources claimed.
Meanwhile, the political analysts say that the change was desired and long-awaited demand within but whether it is really counter to Baghel’s policy in the state or not, time will prove it.
After being appointed, Chandel appeared before the media and said, "his target is clear and in the coming assembly elections we will uproot the Bhupesh Baghel government and reclaim the seat."