GUWAHATI, Nov 18 - The ruling BJP may opt to retain incumbent Ranjeet Kumar Dass as its State unit president for another term once his current tenure ends next month.
Highly placed sources in the saffron party said that Dass may be asked by the BJP�s central leadership to continue as the State unit chief at least till the 2021 Assembly polls in Assam.
�Since assuming charge as State BJP president in December 2016, Dass has managed to endear himself with the party cadres. He has extensively toured across the length and breadth of Assam and played a major role in consolidating our party�s base in the State. As such, with the next Assembly elections scheduled to take place around March-April 2021, the central leadership of our party may consider it prudent to continue with Dass for the time being,� a senior BJP leader told this newspaper.
The BJP�s organisational elections are going on at present and a new State committee of the party�s Assam unit will be in place by the middle of next month.
Sources said that besides Dass, the names of State BJP organisational general secretary Phanindranath Sarma and senior leader and minister Bhabesh Kalita are also doing the rounds for the post of the next State chief of the saffron party.
�Nothing is final yet. The organisational elections are going on and things will become clearer in the next two or three weeks. However, the possibility of Dass being given another term as State party president cannot be discounted. Elections to various urban local bodies (ULBs) of Assam will take place in early 2020 and the Assembly polls will be held in the first half of 2021. With only a year-and-a-half remaining for the next Assembly election, a new president may not get enough time to get acclimatised properly. So, continuing with the incumbent, who is after all a well known face, could be a wise thing to do,� said a source.
It is noteworthy that Dass is a two-term MLA from Sorbhog constituency and had also served as the Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly for a few months in 2016.
�While both Sarma and Kalita are old-time BJP veterans and liked by the cadres, Dass already has experience of leading the party since the last almost three years. His down to earth approach and accessibility has made him popular among the party cadres. He is liked by the masses, especially by those in the rural areas. Dass also has experience of negotiating with our alliance partners. Such factors make him the best option,� added the leader.
Sources, however, conceded that a lot will also depend on what the leadership is planning with regard to the anticipated expansion of the Sarbananda Sonowal ministry.
�There has been speculation since some time that Dass may be inducted into the ministry. If that happens, then the baton of the State party chief will pass on to someone else in line with the �one man one post� principle,� said a BJP leader.
He added, �the expansion is likely to take place only in late December or early January. The Winter Session of the Legislative Assembly will commence on November 28 and go on till December 6. Our party�s organisational polls will conclude in mid-December. Ministry expansion is expected only after that. In case a new face takes over as State unit chief, then Dass� inclusion in the Sonowal ministry is certain.�