The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday appointed its Lok Sabha member Sanjay Jaiswal as party's Bihar unit's president, while appointing Satish Punia, its MLA from Amber assembly segment in Jaipur district as the party's Rajasthan unit president, a party statement said. Jaiswal, who has been winning from Paschim Champaran constituency on the trot since 2009, is seen as an ideological moderate who enjoys a non-controversial image.
A vocal section of the state BJP has often targeted its ally and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who has at times taken a stand opposite to that of the saffron party on a host of issues, including the nullification of the Article 370 and the citizenship bill, underlining the unease in their alliance.
Political watchers believe Jaiswal may help the BJP bring some harmony in its uneven tie-up with Nitish Kumar-led JDU. The state is scheduled to face the assembly polls later next year. Jaiswal replaces Nityanand Rai, a minister of state in the Union government, as the head of the BJP's Bihar unit.
Punia, a seasoned organization man, has been appointed chief of the Rajasthan BJP after the death of state party chief Madan Lal Saini recently.
Hailing from Churu's Rajgarh, Punia, 55, is the MLA from Amber constituency of Jaipur district and hails from the Jat community, a politically influential group in the western state who has not been traditional BJP voters but has backed it in the recent Lok Sabha polls in good numbers. A BJP statement said the party has also appointed Ajay Kumar as general secretary in charge of its organisation in Uttarakhand.