The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday appointed a new party president in Madhya Pradesh and will also replace its Rajasthan chief in a sign of major organisational revamp in the two poll-bound states where it has suffered a string of by-poll defeats to the Congress.
BJP president Amit Shah appointed Rakesh Singh, the party's chief whip in the Lok Sabha, as the head of its Madhya Pradesh unit, replacing Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, who had been at the helm since August 2014.
A party statement said that Ashok Parmani and K Hari Babu, both of whom have resigned as chief of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh units respectively, besides Chauhan have been made members of its national executive.
Sources said the new heads of the party in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh will be announced soon.
"I will continue to work in accordance with the responsibilities given to me as a disciplined party worker," Parnami said after his resignation from the post of Rajasthan BJP chief which he held since February 2014
Asked if his decision was a fallout of the BJP's defeat in the recent Lok Sabha bypolls in Alwar and Ajmer, Parnami, who is an MLA from Jaipur's Adarsh Nagar constituency, said, "Any defeat or victory is a collective responsibility and individuals are not responsible."
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 in the state, sources said.
Rakesh Singh, 55, a three-term MP representing Jabalpur in the Lok Sabha, is seen as a dynamic leader with vast organizational experience and the party hopes that he will be able to use its strong organisation in the state to ward off damage due to any perceived anti-incumbency in the state.
According to sources in Bhopal, Singh's name was finalised at the BJP's state core group meeting in the state capital last night. The meeting was also attended by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and BJP organisational secretary Ram Lal.
Elections to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly will be held by the end of the year.
The BJP is in power in the state for 15 years and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has led it to convincing victories in the 2008 and 2013 assembly polls.
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.
Party sources said a revamp of the organisation is likely in the state.
Rajasthan too will go to the polls later this year.
In Andhra Pradesh, the party has been left without an ally and hopes to strengthen its organisation under a new president.
It has claimed that the decision of the Telugu Desam Party to break ties with it has given the party an opportunity to broaden its base and appeal.
The party's organisation had been virtually lying dormant in the state as it remained a junior partner to the Telugu Desam Party, sources said, adding that it has a number of leaders, many of whom had left the Congress to join it after the state was bifurcated in 2014, to lead its campaign.
The southern state will go to assembly polls simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections next year.
The BJP has only four MLAs and two MPs from the state, which elected 25 members for the Lower House. Shah has eyed it as one of the growth states for the party in the next polls.