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Former Union minister and senior BJP leader Dr C P Thakur was on Friday made Bihar BJP president after the state unit of the party could not choose any of the three Brahmin leaders in the race for the top state job in a crucial election year.
Dr Thakur, a senior leader who had been sulking after not being included in BJP president Nitin Gadkari's team, emerged as a "surprise choice" ahead of front-runners Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Sukhda Pande and Mangal Pandey.
Confirming his election as state president, Dr Thakur told The Indian Express from New Delhi: "I am surprised. I had not come to Delhi for this. I was not in contention." Dr Thakur had earlier expressed his resentment, saying Team Gadkari should have struck a caste balance in Bihar.
Listing his priorities, Dr Thakur said he would strive for "good coordination with partner JD(U) in an election year" and "work for farmers and the poor". He would also ensure that the good works of the government were projected properly. Dr Thakur, researching on kala-azar (a disease) for years, said he would make sure that special medical attention was given to the patients suffering from it.
Bihar BJP sources said Dr Thakur won the race after the party was divided into two groups, led by Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and minister Nandkishore Yadav over the choice of Sukhda Pande and Choubey. As Dr Thakur enjoyed good rapport with top central and state leaders, his name got the go-ahead. BJP sources in Delhi said senior leader Arun Jaitley had first proposed Dr Thakur's name for the post.