Laxmikant Bajpai replaces Shahi as state BJP chief

BJP supporters

Lakshmikant Bajpai, senior BJP leader and four-time MLA from Meerut, was today appointed president of the UP BJP.

Bajpai is the first state president from western UP since 1991, when Kalyan Singh was appointed party president.

Outgoing state president Surya Pratap Shahi, who tendered his resignation last month following the dismal performance of the party in the state Assembly elections, has been made special invitee to the party's national executive. The BJP, which had won 51 seats in 2007, managed to win merely 47 this time.

The party's national president Nitin Gadkari, who named Bajpai as state president, also nominated Dr Mahendra Singh, state vice-president, as the candidate for legislative council elections scheduled for April 26. Singh is expected to file his nomination on Monday. Given the BJP's strength in the Assembly, he is assured of victory.

An Ayurvedic doctor by qualification, Bajpai was one of the 10 vice-presidents of the state unit. One of the factors behind his appointment is the BJP's relatively better performance in western UP in this election.

Active in politics for over 35 years, Bajpai was minister of state for animal husbandry and dairy development in the BJP government in 2002-03. He served as chief whip of the party in the Assembly in 1996 and 2002. He has been a member of the state executive committee for long.

The party also appointed Satish Mahana as its deputy leader and Dr Radha Mohan Das Agarwal as chief whip in the Assembly. Hukum Singh has already been elected leader of the legislature party.

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