Shanta replaced by Pradhan as BJP incharge in Karnataka

New Delhi: BJP on Saturday effected a change in the command structure of its affairs in Karnataka, where the party has been hit by land scams and dissidence, replacing in-charge Shanta Kumar and appointing general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan in his place.’

BJP sources said Shanta Kumar, who was shifted to Punjab, had not taken any active interest in party affairs in Karnataka since he was appointed state in-charge by BJP President Nitin Gadkari earlier this year.

At the peak of the turmoil in the state when Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa was accused of nepotism and favouritism in land allotment to his sons and daughter, Kumar was away in the US to attend a UN conference.

Party sources said since Shanta Kumar, a former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, was not interested in a southern state, he has been moved to Punjab. Yashwant Sinha, who was in-charge of Punjab earlier, had quit his post after Arjun Munda pipped him to the post and became Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

Dharmendra Pradhan, who is one of the young faces of BJP, is expected to be more active than his predecessors in Karnataka. Till now, he was co-incharge of Bihar which is under the charge of Ananth Kumar.

With a spectacular victory of JD(U)-BJP combine in the just-concluded elections in the state, the party decided to elevate Pradhan.

Along with these changes, the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley has been asked by Gadkari to give special attention to Karnataka party affairs. He had recently done much of the trouble-shooting with Yeddyurappa on behalf of the central leadership during the recent crisis.