Exuding confidence that he will clear his first electoral test after being appointed as the Uttar Pradesh BJP chief, Swatantra Dev Singh on Wednesday said the saffron party will sweep the upcoming Assembly bypolls in the state.
"The party is already on a strong footing in the state. The confidence of the workers is high. We will definitely win the upcoming bypolls, riding on the welfare works done by the Narendra Modi government (at the Centre) and the Yogi (Adityanath) government in the state, and also on the basis of the party's organisational strength," Mr Singh told PTI in an interview, a day after he was appointed as the Uttar Pradesh BJP chief.
He also claimed that the party will sweep the zila panchayat polls, scheduled to be held next year.
The bypolls to 11 Assembly seats were necessitated as the sitting lawmakers were elected to the Lok Sabha, while the vacancy in Hamirpur was caused due to the disqualification of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel following his conviction in a murder case.
The constituencies that fell vacant following the election of the sitting legislators as parliamentarians are Manikpur, Iglas (SC), Zaidpur (SC), Gangoh, Balha (SC), Rampur, Jalalpur, Pratapgarh, Lucknow Cantonment, Govindnagar and Tundla (SC).
Asked about his roadmap for the party, Mr Singh said, "Currently, the focus of the party is on the membership drive. The target is to bring more people into the BJP-fold and we are giving momentum to the organisational activities."
He lauded the efforts of the party workers in helping the BJP register comprehensive victories in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, and the 2017 Assembly election.
Ahead of the bypolls to the 12 Assembly seats, the BJP appointed Singh, an OBC leader and a state minister, as the new chief of its Uttar Pradesh unit on Tuesday.
Hailing from the influential Kurmi caste, the 55-year-old OBC leader replaces Mahendra Nath Pandey, a Brahmin, who moved to the Centre on his re-election to the Lok Sabha from Chandauli.
Sticking to its "one person-one post" policy, the saffron party replaced its Uttar Pradesh unit chief as Mr Pandey was inducted into the Union ministry.
Since the upcoming Assembly bypolls will be the ruling party's first major test after its resounding Lok Sabha election victory, Mr Singh's job is cut out.
His appointment is being seen as part of the BJP's efforts to consolidate its base among the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), who strongly backed the saffron party in the 2017 state Assembly and the recently-concluded Lok Sabha polls.
Singh was in charge of the BJP affairs in Madhya Pradesh during the parliamentary polls. The saffron party bagged 28 of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh.
He is currently a member of the UP Legislative Council and holds the portfolio of the minister of state (independent charge) for transport.
Mr Singh had joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1986 and held various posts in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).
He also held various posts in the BJP from 2004 to 2014.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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