Patna, April 23: The BJP central leadership today appointed Rajya Sabha member C.P. Thakur state party president, ending more than two months of internal bickering and specualtion in an election year.
Thakur, a Padmashree awardee physician, who has also represented the Patna Lok Sabha seat, replaces Radhamohan Singh, who completed his tenure as Bihar party chief in the last week of February.
The protracted infighting between two factions of the state BJP was apparently the reason behind party president Nitin Gadkari taking so long to choose a leader who would be acceptable to both factions.
The BJP high command had initially planned to install a Brahmin president with the Congress making a determined bid to win back its upper caste support base in the region. But with too many Brahmin leaders throwing their hat in the ring, became it a difficult choice.
While a faction wanted state minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey to replace Singh, another led by deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi favoured Sukhada Pandey and Mangal Pandey.
Unable to decide on a unanimous common Brahmin candidate, Gadkari finally chose Thakur, who belongs to the upper caste Bhumihar community.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, too, would be happy with Thakur having become the boss of his alliance partner with the JD(U) facing a sort of revolt from Bhumihars.
Former state JD(U) chief and MP Lallan Singh, a Bhumihar, in company with rebel party leader Prabhunath Singh and Independent MP from Jamui, Digvijay Singh, have launched a rebellion against the Nitish government in the run-up to the elections.
In Thakur, the Nitish-led NDA might find a potent weapon to counter Lallan-led tirade to disassociate upper castes from the JD(U).
All the three major parties, JD(U), BJP and the Congress, have Bhumihar chiefs now. While Anil Sharma is the state Congress chief, Vijay Choudhary heads the JD(U) in Bihar.