New Delhi: An old-time activist of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, Adesh Kumar Gupta, on Monday replaced Bhojpuri singer-turned-politician Manoj Tiwari as the Delhi BJP president.
Tiwari, who was given the important post in 2016 despite not having muchof political experience, had been expected to go after the party performed miserably in the Assembly election held earlier this year.
Fifty-two-year-old Gupta, who rose up the ranks of the party, began his career as a student activist with ABVP in 1986, and served in various posts within BJP, including as Mayor of North Delhi Municipal Corporation. At present, he is a member of the Standing Committee of North MCD and Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. His father was also a Delhi BJP district president.
By making Gupta, who belongs to the Vaish community, its president in Delhi the BJP has ostensibly attempted to reach out to the community which appears to have gradually swayed towards the Aam Aadmi Party. Arvind Kejriwal also belongs to the Vaish community.
BJP has earlier had several Delhi presidents from the community including Mange Ram Garg, Harshvardhan, Vijay Goel and Vijender Gupta.
Tiwari’s four-year tenure saw the BJP regaining the three municipal corporations in the elections held in 2017. And though the party again secured all the seven seats in the Lok Sabha elections held last year, performing a repeat of 2014 when a Modi wave had given it a clean sweep for the first time, it failed to dislodge the Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party in the Assembly polls held in February this year.
Though it was expected that Tiwari, being a known figure, would be able to woo the Poorvanchali voters, his performance in galvanising the party was nothing to write home about. In fact, AAP came back with another resounding victory, winning 62 seats in the 70-member House with the BJP finishing a distant second with just eight seats.
Though soon after the polls, 49-year-old Tiwari had offered to step down, the party had made him wait as it reportedly looked for a replacement.
Then riots in North East Delhi – which Tiwari represents as a Lok Sabha MP – and spread of COVID-19 is learnt to have delayed the decision on the change of guard. In between, Tiwari found himself in the midst of several controversies. He was seen playing cricket in neighbouring Haryana, recently, during the lockdown.
The BJP termed the change of guard a routine move. Gupta was quoted by NDTV as saying: “I can only say that I will fulfil my responsibility with honesty and dedication.”