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BJP picks up Brahmin face Mahendra Nath Pandey to head UP unit ahead of LS polls

Pandey, a two-time MLA, was elected to the UP Legislative Assembly in 1991 and 1996. He also has been the secretary of the BJP legislature party.
Pandey, a two-time MLA, was elected to the UP Legislative Assembly in 1991 and 1996. He also has been the secretary of the BJP legislature party.
LUCKNOW: BJP has chosen a Brahmin leader from the prime minister’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, Mahendra Nath Pandey, as the new state president of the party in Uttar Pradesh. Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the party has opted for Pandey’s strong organisational experience and his perceived ability to rise above caste or regional considerations.

“BJP is already at its zenith in UP. My priority is to take it to even greater heights. We will do even better in the 2019 elections in UP than in 2014, when we won 73 out of the 80 seats,” Pandey, who resigned as minister of state for human resource development on Thursday, told ET.

Pandey has been associated with RSS since his student days in 1978 when he was the general secretary of the students union at the Banaras Hindu University from where he did a Masters course in Journalism and a PhD in Hindi. Many expected an OBC or MBC leader from west UP to be chosen as BJP state president to replace OBC leader and Allahabad MP KP Maurya.

Experience in the state BJP unit and being the PM’s pointsman for Varanasi seem to have gone in favour of 60-yearold Pandey, the first-time MP from Chandauli who won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes. He has earlier served as the general secretary, regional in-charge and regional president of UP BJP. Pandey, who lives in Varanasi’s Saraswati Nagar, has been monitoring development works in Varanasi in close association with CM Yogi Adityanath.

He had taken part in the first Ram Janambhoomi movement and was booked under the National Security Act by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government.

Pandey also spent five months in jail during the Emergency.

“My responsibility now is that the sangathan (BJP organisation) reaches to the people of UP and communicates their woes to the Yogi government, as well as inform people of the steps taken by the state government,” Pandey told ET.

On the issue of UP government facing criticism on issues like child deaths in Gorakhpur, Pandey said: “The government with full responsibility is trying to find a solution and will soon find one.”

Dismissing any regional mismatch after his appointment as state chief as most top BJP leaders in UP are now from east UP, Pandey said: “BJP in UP is one unit and the people see us as such.”

Pandey, who was born in Ghazipur but has studied and lived in Varanasi, was first elected as an MLA in 1991 and in 1996 and has served as a minister in the Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh government in UP from 1997 to 2002. He joined the Narendra Modi government in July last year as MoS HRD.

2019 In Mind
Pandey has been associated with RSS since his student days in 1978 when he was the general secretary of the students union at the Banaras Hindu University from where he did a Masters course in Journalism and a PhD in Hindi.

Many expected an OBC or MBC leader from west UP to be chosen as BJP state president to replace OBC leader and Allahabad MP KP Maurya Pandey has earlier served as the gen secy, regional in-charge and regional president of UP BJP.

Pandey, who lives in Varanasi’s Saraswati Nagar, has been monitoring development works in Varanasi in close association with CM Yogi Adityanath
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