NEW DELHI: Elevation of Tarkishor Prasad and Renu Devi as deputy chief ministers in Bihar is seen as yet another instance of BJP leadership‘s continuing effort to elevate those who have risen from the ranks, making up for lack of pedigree with sustained organizational work.
When Prasad and Devi’s name cropped up, it came as a surprise for many in the party in Bihar which boasts of a procession of veterans.
Though Prasad , 64 and Renu Devi 62, are not exactly young, the big leg up for them is supposed to be the first step to promote a new cast to new positions by taking the party out of the shadows of a batch whose toil helped party emerge as a force in the state but who, in leadership’s reckoning, now need to make way for a new group.
This is what makes our party different from others as common workers are considered as backbone of the organisation and are rewarded purely in merit,” BJP president JP Nadda told TOI. He added, “Even if name of a prominent leader’s kin is recommended, it is questioned strongly as happened while selection of candidates for Bihar polls.”
The recent selection of party’s candidates for RS polls was also guided by the same consideration as party top brass had nominated local leaders for the house of elders, dashing hopes of the known aspirants, whose names were doing the rounds.
Four-time MLA from Katihar, Tarkishor Prasad, five-time MLA from Bettiah, Renu Devi were formally anointed deputy chief ministers, replacing Sushil Modi. Prasad was on Tuesday assigned Finance, Commercial Taxes, Environment and Forest, Information Technology, Disaster Management, and Urban development, almost all departments which were earlier handled by former deputy CM Modi.
Devi will be in charge of Panchayati Raj, Backward Caste Uplift, Extremely Backward Class Welfare, and Industry.
Surprisingly both the leaders, despite being MLAs for multiple terms, had never been ministers even as the NDA has been in power for several years.
Prasad, who belongs to the Kalwar caste in OBC category, is seen as representative of the political aspirations of Mithila, Kosi and the Seemanchal regions.
Renu, who belongs to Nonia caste in EBC category, will represent the western north Bihar districts of Champaran. These regions together have given a good number of seats to the BJP in the state assembly elections this year, he added.
In fact Bihar Governor Fagu Chauhan, who comes from Ghosi town in Mau district of UP, who administered the oath to Prasad and Renu Devi is , himself is a testimony to the current leadership’s reward to the faithful who have been in oblivion despite having worked hard at the grassroots.
People close to Chauhan, who is also from Nonia caste , say that he was lined up to garland newly appointed state president Swatantradeo Singh when he received the call from the MHA about his appointment as Bihar governor in July last year.
Of the 10 BJP leaders, who made it to the Rajya Sabha recently from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, seven are those who have entered the house of elders, for the first time, another strong signal by the party top brass that political opportunities will be shared with the leaders who have been working at the grassroots level.