Senior leader Om Prakash Dhankar appointed Haryana BJP president

PTI Chandigarh/New Delhi | Updated on July 19, 2020

Om Prakash Dhankar

Senior BJP leader and former Haryana minister Om Prakash Dhankar was on Sunday appointed as the party’s state president.

The 58-year-old, a former MLA from Badli, was minister for agriculture and farmers’ welfare in the previous Manohar Lal Khattar cabinet.

He replaces Subhash Barala, who has completed his tenure. By appointing Dhankar, the BJP has continued with a Jat face to lead the party in Haryana. Jat is the most dominant caste in the state.

Dhankar was appointed as the state unit chief by BJP president J P Nadda, the party said in a statement and added that the appointment has been made with immediate effect.

The appointment is also being seen as an attempt to balance the caste equations in the state, where politics revolves around Jats and non-Jats

The BJP had formed its government in Haryana for the first time on its own strength in 2014. Five years later, it returned to power in alliance with the Jannayak Janta Party and Khattar, who is a non-Jat and belongs to the Punjabi community, was sworn-in as chief minister.

Both Dhankar and Barala had lost the 2019 Harayana assembly elections.

The appointment has been delayed by more than eight months. It was expected that a new president would be appointed after the announcement of the state assembly results.

Dhankar thanked the party high command for reposing faith in him and said he would dedicate himself to the cause to strengthen the party further.

I thank my party senior leadership for reposing faith in me, Dhankar told PTI over the phone.

Chief Minister Khattar congratulated Dhankar over his appointment. My heartiest congratulations to O P Dhankar, tweeted Khattar and described Dhankar as a dedicated party worker.

In his tweet, Khattar also said that he has a firm belief that party workers will get the benefit of Dhankar’s vast political experience and the party’s state unit will be further strengthened with his appointment.

Sources said that the appointment of Dhankar as BJP Haryana chief was finalised after hectic discussions. There was lack of consensus on several other names, they said.

Dhankar has also been the national president of the BJP’s Kisan Morcha.

Dhankar and former minister Abhimanyu, both leaders from the Jat community, were in the race to become the next state unit chief, but recently the name of Union Minister Krishan Pal Gurjar for the post was also doing the rounds.

Khattar had recently met Nadda and discussed the issue of appointment of a new state unit chief, sources had said.

Earlier, Dhankar held several key positions in the party’s Haryana unit, including state general secretary. He also served as national secretary of the party and earlier also remained joint in-charge of the party’s Himachal Pradesh affairs.

Published on July 19, 2020

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