Now that the assembly elections are over, there may be an organizational overhaul in the state BJP before the end of next month (January 2013). BJP spokesperson IK Jadeja is emerging in party circles as the frontrunner for the post of state president followed by state party vice-president Kaushik Patel who may be promoted to the post.
With the three-year-term of the current state party organization coming to an end this month, new office-bearers for the top party posts are expected before the end of January.
Source in the party said IK Jadeja, a Kshatriya, may be considered for the top BJP post in the state as two Patel leaders — RC Faldu, a Leuva Patel, and Purushottam Rupala, a Kadva Patel — were the state party presidents for the last two terms. Traditionally, Patels and Kshatriyas have been rotated for the post of BJP president.
“IK Jadeja was a claimant of a ticket for the assembly polls but he was not fielded in the elections because he could be under consideration for the top party post in the state. He is a close aide of Modi and enjoys cabinet-level rank as he is chairman of the Swarnim Gujarat organization committee,” a source in the party said.
The party is also planning with an eye on civic polls in February 2013 and the parliamentary elections in 2014. It is also looking for an acceptable candidate within the party organization. Moreover, there is unlikely to be any opposition to Jadeja’s name as he is a former minister. Jadeja had lost the assembly elections in 2007 from Dhangadhra constituency.
The second name for the post is that of Kaushik Patel who is currently the party’s vice-president. He was revenue minister but lost the 2007 elections from Shahpur seat. He is also influential in the party and Modi has no doubts about his work.
However, in view of the party’s tradition of rotating Kshatriyas and Patels for the post of party president, Jadeja is the front-runner. Modi has given ample importance to Patels with seven ministers in his new cabinet.
The sources also said that the party may consider a tribal candidate for the post. The next state BJP president is unlikely to be an OBC as the chief minister himself belongs to an OBC community. However the final decision in this regard will be taken by Modi after discussions with the party high command. The sitting party president RC Faldu was defeated in this year’s assembly elections.
Purushottam Rupala was his predecessor as party president while Vajubhai Vala and Rajendrasinh Rana, both Kashtiryas, were party presidents before him. Going back to an earlier time, Keshubhai Patel was the party president before them.