New Delhi/Dehardun: The BJP on Saturday appointed Mahendra Bhatt as the president of its Uttarakhand unit.
Bhatt, a former MLA of Badrinath in Chamoli district, replaces Haridwar MLA Madan Kaushik as the BJP’s state unit chief. Bhatt had lost the assembly polls held earlier this year.
With the appointment of Bhatt, a brahmin leader from the Garwhal region, the BJP has tried to strike a balance between caste and region in its leadership ranks.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami is a Thakur from the Kumaon region.
Congratulating Bhatt on his appointment, Dhami said the party will certainly get a new strength under his leadership.
“I pray to Lord Badrinath for your bright future,” he said in a tweet.
Kaushik also congratulated Bhatt on his appointment through a tweet.
A senior party leader said Bhatt, 50, has risen through the ranks working in Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the BJP’s youth wing.
His appointment was made by BJP president J P Nadda, a letter signed by BJP national general secretary and in-charge of the party headquarters Arun Singh said.
Bhatt had lost to Congress’ Rajendra Singh Bhandari from Badrinath in the state assembly polls held in February this year. He had won the seat in 2017.
Before winning from Badrinath in 2017 assembly polls, Bhatt was an MLA from Nandprayag seat in the state Assembly from 2002 to 2007.
Earlier, he held important positions in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha’s state unit.
Bhatt was also the BJP convenor for Garhwal region from 2012 to 2014 and Pradesh BJP Secretary from 2015 to 2020.
He was a member of the now dissolved Uttarakhand Char Dham Devsathanam Management Board.
Bhatt was actively associated with the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement and Uttarakhand’s agitation for statehood undergoing brief imprisonment during both.
Party sources said that he is seen as an organisational man with strong ideological commitment.
They also said the party may also give him some other responsibilities.
It was also learnt that the state cabinet of the BJP government can also accommodate a few more persons.