New Delhi: The BJP on Saturday appointed Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan as its in-charge for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls, a party statement said.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Tamil Nadu BJP unit president K Annamalai will be the party’s co-incharges for the high-stakes polls, where both the ruling party and the opposition Congress have launched an intensive public outreach for the elections likely to be held in April-May.
Pradhan, a seasoned organisation man of the party, had been tasked with handling several elections in the past, including the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls last year where the BJP retained power with a big margin. Mandaviya has also been an experienced organisation man in Gujarat, his home state.
A former party general secretary, Pradhan has been involved in assembly polls in Bihar, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and also in Karnataka in 2013.
Karnataka elections: BJP eyes to rewrite a 38-year-old history, Cong looks to wrest power
He was also in-charge of the Assam and Madhya Pradesh assembly polls in 2015 and 2018, respectively.
A skilful politician, he will be expected to mobilise the party organisation in Karnataka while sorting out internal issues in the local unit to maximise the party’s efforts to retain power in the important southern state.
Karnataka is the only southern state where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has ever run a government. The party had opted for a leadership transition in the state by easing out the then chief minister B S Yediyurappa and bringing in Basavaraj Bommai, a Lingayat like the veteran leader, in his place in July 2018.
Despite his loss of power, Yediyurappa’s stature vis-a-vis his successor’s low-key style has meant that the former’s shadow continues to loom large. He was recently appointed a member of the party’s Parliamentary Board, its apex organisation body, with the central leadership working to keep him in good humour.