Actor-politician Manoj Tiwari has been replaced as chief of the BJP in Delhi. Adesh Kumar Gupta will take over, the ruling party said today (02 June 2020).
Adesh Gupta, a former North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor, is everything that Manoj Tiwari was not – a low profile, an old hand of the party in the capital. Many interpret his appointment as a sign that the BJP is once again looking for its core support group in the capital — the Vaishya community.
Manoj Tiwari, who was appointed Delhi BJP president in 2016, was said to be on borrowed time since the party’s disastrous performance in the Delhi assembly election in February.
Sources say he had offered to resign immediately after the Delhi defeat but was asked to continue until an alternative was found.
The BJP called it a routine move and also announced changes in other states — Vishnu Deo Sai has been appointed chief in Chhattisgarh and S Tikendra Singh in Manipur.
“I can only say that I will fulfill my responsibility with honesty and dedication,” Adesh Gupta told.
“In Delhi, we need to work on the ground level. We need to reach more people and create a more all-embracing organisation, so that we can enhance our voter base,” he added.
Mr. Tiwari, a Bhojpuri singing star-turned-politician, was always perceived as an “outsider” in the faction-driven Delhi BJP and was seen to have been unable to effectively counter the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) despite his street-fighting skills and non-stop sparring.
A flamboyant politician prone to theatrics, Mr. Tiwari failed to deliver on his promise of decimating AAP even after the BJP won all seven parliamentary seats in the national election just nine months before the Delhi polls.
The BJP could win only 8 of Delhi’s 70 seats. In an internal autopsy of the Delhi election, the BJP blamed infighting and the failure to match AAP’s narrative on local issues like water and electricity.
Mr. Tiwari also largely failed to reel in the Poorvanchali voters, which was a key reason for his appointment as Delhi unit chief.
His statements throughout the Delhi campaign became a daily source of amusement, with AAP mocking the BJP leader using his songs.
Mr. Tiwari joined the BJP in 2013 after a brief stint in the Samajwadi Party and quickly rose up the ranks. He contested the 2014 election from Delhi and won.
When he was appointed Delhi BJP chief two years later, there was much resentment among other seasoned leaders in the capital like Vijay Goel and Ramesh Bidhuri. The appointment surprised many as organizational posts are usually given to hardcore followers of the party ideology.
Mr. Tiwari has lately been too much of a controversy-magnet for the party. Recently, he was targeted by AAP and others on social media over photos in which he appeared to be playing cricket at an academy in neighbouring Haryana in violation of lockdown rules.