New Delhi: Narendra Modi’s BJP never ceases to surprise. The party has decided to entrust longtime Narendra Modi-baiter and Gujarat politician Gordhan Zadafia among others with the task of leading the Uttar Pradesh campaign in 2019 — daunting, given that the BJP/NDA got 73 of 80 seats in 2014.

The BJP on Wednesday appointed party’s election in-charges for 17 states and union territory Chandigarh for the 2019 elections.

Zadafia, who?

Zadafia is a former associate of Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) Praveen Togadia, who has a running fight with Modi. According to political observers, the development shows that Togadia, who has been looking for anti-Modi platforms, would be further isolated. Also, Zadafia himself carries the badge of being a hardline Hindutva proponent.

Zadafia had been a VHP activist for close to one-and-a-half decades before entering the council of ministers of then Gujarat chief minister Modi. He was a close associate of now-estranged Praveen Togadia.

The former rebel had turned on Modi when after 2002 state elections he was dropped from the council of ministers. He broke with the BJP too and floated an independent party, ‘Mahagujarat Janata Party’ (MJP) during the 2007 assembly elections in Gujarat. Later the party was merged with the ‘Gujarat Parivartan Party’ of former Gujarat chief minister and another known Modi-baiter Keshubhai Patel.

During the 2012 assembly elections, Togadia and party had campaigned hard against the BJP. Despite all efforts, Zadafia and his team lost the 2012 polls.

On February 24, 2014, Zadafia rejoined the BJP and merged Gujarat Parivartan Party into it.

Other highlights from the list

1.     In view of the dismal performance of the party in Rajasthan and the friction between the party as such and the former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, the state has been entrusted to senior minister Prakash Javadekar and Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s close confidante Sudhanshu Trivedi.

2.     BJP national vice-president in-charge for Uttar Pradesh, Om Prakash Mathur, has been shifted out of the state and made election in-charge for Pm Modi’s own Gujarat. Mathur was also estranged from UP chief minister and reportedly unhappy with the party’s functioning in the state as also the role of Sunil Bansal, UP BJP’s general secretary (organising).

3.     Swatantra Dev Singh and Satish Upadhyay have been made ‘chunav prabharis’ for Madhya Pradesh.

4.     Party president Amit Shah’s close confidante and national general secretary Anil Jain has been entrusted with Chhattisgarh, another state which the BJP lost power after a hiatus of 15 years.