Gupta's appointment as Delhi BJP chief done to focus on workers, feel leaders

New Delhi, June 2 (PTI) Former mayor of north Delhi municipal corporation Adesh Kumar Gupta's appointment as the new chief of the Delhi BJP on Tuesday means that the party's top brass wants to focus on its workers in the national capital, party leaders said, though for many the move came as a surprise. Gupta, 51, replaced Manoj Tiwari who had completed his three-year term in November last year.

Announcing the appointment, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh said party's national president JP Nadda has appointed Adesh Kumar Gupta as the chief of the party's Delhi unit with immediate effect.   Leaders of the Delhi BJP said the appointment of Gupta, who has strong RSS links and a background of working with the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) during his student days, meant that the party's top brass was focusing on the organisation in Delhi from the workers point of view.

'If anything, Gupta's appointment means that the BJP is now going to focus on its workers in Delhi which was not the case during the stint of the previous president,' a top Delhi BJP leader said.

However, the announcement also surprised many Delhi BJP leaders and party workers.

'Since the defeat of our party in the Delhi Assembly elections earlier this year, Tiwari's departure was eminent. Several names of prominent leaders were also making the round as his replacement but we never heard anyone mentioning Gupta's name,' several Delhi BJP leaders said.

The party insiders also claimed that Gupta's name was actively pushed by two top  office bearers associated with the Delhi BJP.

Gupta, who is a Bania, will help strengthen party's bonds with the traders community that has been a traditional votary of the party, party leaders said.

He will, however, face challenges in establishing a fine balance in his relation with senior Delhi BJP leaders who have already been divided.

His appointment is also an attempt of the top leadership to bring the top state leaders on the same page before the party faces municipal polls due early 2022, they said.

Tiwari congratulated Gupta in a tweet and thanked party workers, office bearers and the people of Delhi for their affection and cooperation during his over 3.5 year term.

'I will be ever grateful to all the workers, office bearers and Delhi people for their affection and cooperation in my 3.6 years term as state president. Forgive me for any mistake committed knowingly or unknowingly. Many congratulations to new state president Adesh Gupta,' he tweeted.

Sources said Tiwari had expressed his desire to step down from president's post after the Delhi Assembly poll debacle, wishing to discharge some other responsibility as per top leadership's directions.

Tiwari, who was appointed Delhi BJP president in November 2016 led the party to impressive victories in municipal polls in 2017 and Lok Sabha elections last year.

Gupta, who hails from Kannauj in UP,  is a first time councilor of North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) from West Patel Nagar and also a member of the executive committee of the civic body.

He served as mayor of North Delhi in 2018.

He started his career as a student activist of the ABVP in 1986. He rose to the position of ABVP's state joint secretary of Uttar Pradesh.  In 1994, he moved to the national capital and was later appointed national office secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha when Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan was president of the outfit.

Between 2009 to 2014, he occupied several positions in Delhi BJP from block to district and state level. PTI VIT TDS TDS