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BJP appoints Jat leader as in-charge for Baroda bypoll

August 06, 2020 06:47 AM

COURTESY HT AUG 6

BJP appoints Jat leader as in-charge for Baroda bypoll
Hitender Rao

hrao@hindustantimes.com

Chandigarh : The appointment of Haryana agriculture minister JP Dalal, a Jat leader, as the BJP’s election in-charge for Baroda assembly bypoll on Tuesday is being seen as a step towards placating the majority Jat vote bank in the constituency.

The election commission is yet to announce the schedule for the bypoll.

Orders of his appointment were issued by BJP’s state office in-charge Gulshan Bhatia on the directions of Haryana BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar.

Before Dalal’s appointment on Tuesday, Karnal MP Sanjay Bhatia, a Punjabi khatri, who was the party’s election in-charge for 2019 assembly polls, was ‘informally’ looking after the management for the impending bypoll, party sources said.

Dalal’s appointment as poll in-charge is also significant in light of the acerbic remarks made two days ago by independent MLA from Meham, Balraj Kundu, a Jat leader himself.

Kundu had on August 2 raked up the ‘Jat versus non-Jat’ issue at a meeting of Sarv Jatiya Sarv Khap mahapanchayat at Chichrana in Baroda. The outburst probably was enough to hasten Dalal’s appointment, political analysts say.

MLA Kundu, who addressed the khap leaders, shamed the Jat gathering on Sunday about Sanjay Bhatia’s continuation as the BJP ‘in-charge’ for the Baroda assembly bypoll.

“Yeh 52% ka halqa hai. Thaara prabhari kaun hai. Bhatia…. Doob ke mar jao. Apne lath tha lo. Mangan ki zaroorat koi naa... (This constituency has 52% Jat votes. And who is your in-charge? Bhatia (Sanjay). You should be ashamed. Get ready for a fight. There is no need to make requests for anything),” said Kundu, a former BJP worker who won from Meham assembly seat as an Independent after being denied a party ticket.

State BJP chief Om Prakash Dhankar, however, said since the Karnal MP was also the party in-charge for Sonepat district, he was taking care of Baroda assembly seat.

“Sanjay Bhatia will continue to look after the Baroda assembly constituency even now. However, agriculture minister JP Dalal will be the election in-charge,” Dhankar said in response to a query.

Fifteen Jat candidates of the saffron party, including Dhankar, were routed during the 2019 assembly polls. Only five made it to the state assembly.

Political analysts attributed this outright rejection by the Jat electorate, which constitutes about 25% of voters and are the single largest influencers, to the BJP’s approach of having a non-Jat chief minister at the helm.

The state BJP recently replaced Subhash Barala, a Jat leader, as the state unit president with another Jat, Dhankar

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