AP BJP unit president Hari Babu quits, replacement soon

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Vijayawada: In an unexpected turn of events, Visakhapatnam MP Kambhampati Hari Babu resigned as the president of the State BJP. He confirmed that he had sent his resignation letter to party national president Amit Shah late on Monday evening.

While the leaders in the State maintained that Hari Babu’s decision was voluntary, sources said that he tendered his resignation following a directive from the high command.

Later on Tuesday, Amit Shah, in an informal chit in New Delhi, told reporters that new State president would be announced shortly. Hari Babu resigned to make way for appointment of a new party chief, said Amit Shah.

He reportedly said that it was TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s decision to leave the NDA, and added the BJP had no intention to have any differences with the former ally.

It may be noted that Hari Babu was the first State BJP president after bifurcation of AP and took reins of the party on March 14, 2014. Even though his term ended in March, 2017, the mild-mannered Hari Babu was asked to continue in the position.

Even though the State party leaders maintain that a decision on the new chief is yet to be taken, it’s learnt that Amit Shah, in consultation with AP in-charge Ram Madhav, has zeroed in on a candidate to succeed Hari Babu. While there has been no confirmation, leaders in the national executive committee indicated that a candidate from Kapu community would most likely be the next BJP president. And once new chief is announced, it is being speculated that Hari Babu will be given a ‘suitable position’ in the Union cabinet, which is expected to be reshuffled after the conclusion of Karnataka elections.

It maybe noted that MLAs Pydikondala Manikyala Rao and Akula Satyanarayana, MLC Somu Veeraju, and former minister Kanna Lakshmi Narayana — all from Kapu community — are the front runners for the post. D Purandeswari, from Kamma community, is also under consideration, as she could effectively counter TDP’s attack on the BJP. With the BC leaders within the party suggesting that a leader from their community be made party president, Visakhapatnam MLC PVN Madhav’s name has also been added to the list of candidates being considered for the post.

However, State party leaders are of the view that a Kapu face may not really bring any advantage to the BJP in the elections. “Kapu votes will be tapped by Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena. So, there is not much of an advantage if a Kapu leader is picked for the BJP president’s post,” a senior leader observed.

In his resignation, Hari Babu thanked the party for giving him a chance to lead the State party for four years.

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