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After the setbacks it suffered in by-elections in poll-bound states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the BJP has gone in for a change of guard in its state party units in these states where assembly elections are due before the year ends.

The BJP has appointed a new party president in Madhya Pradesh. Its Rajasthan unit chief hasquit and appointment of the new state president is awaited.

In Madhya Pradesh, BJP president Amit Shah appointed Rakesh Singh, the party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha, as the head of its state unit, replacing Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, who had been at the helm since August 2014.

The BJP said in a statement that Rajasthan party chief Ashok Parmani and K Hari Babu, who recently resigned as Andhra Pradesh BJP chief, besides Chauhan have been made members of its national executive.

Parmani today resigned as chief of party’s Rajasthan unit. The new state presidents of the party in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh were expected to be announced soon.

“I have worked for strengthening the party as its worker. I will continue to work in accordance with the responsibilities given to me as a disciplined party worker,” Parnami, who had been appointed as Rajasthan BJP chief in February 2014 and is an MLA from Jaipur’s Adarsh Nagar constituency, was quoted in media reports as saying.

Asked if his resignation was a fallout of the BJP’s defeat in the recent Lok Sabha bypolls in Alwar and Ajmer, Parnami said, “Any defeat or victory is a collective responsibility and individuals are not responsible.”

In Rajasthan, BJP may appoint a state unit chief from the Meena community.

While MP state chief Chauhan was a Rajput, his replacement Rakesh Singh (55), a three-term MP representing Jabalpur in the Lok Sabha, belongs to backward caste. A Rajput, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who was in contention for the post of the party president in Madhya Pradesh, will be its campaign committee chief, sources said.

Singh’s name was finalised at the BJP’s state core group meeting in the state capital last night, said media reports. The meeting was also attended by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and BJP organisational secretary Ram Lal.

The BJP has been in power in MP for 15 years.

However, the party’s loss in a string of bypolls coupled with agitations by farmers and then Dalits has given the opposition Congress hope that it can breach the saffron fortress this time.

The BJP is believed to be facing a much stronger challenge in Rajasthan, underlined recently in its loss in the two Lok Sabha bypolls.

In Andhra Pradesh, BJP has been left without an ally and hopes to strengthen its organisation under a new president. In Andhra Pradesh BJP may appoint a leader from the Kapu community or choose NT Rama Rao’s daughter D Purandeswari to take on TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu- who is married Purandeswari’s sister, said a report in ET.

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