Lucknow: Office-bearers of BJP Legislature Party for Uttar Pradesh Assembly were on Friday elected unanimously, a party spokesman said here.

Hukkum Singh will the BJPLP leader, Satish Mahana has been elected as the deputy leader and Radha Mohan Das as the chief whip, spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.

He said Dharmpal Singh and Kuwar Bhartendu Singh will be the whips, Krishna Paswan and Bawan Singh the secretaries and Jagan Prasad Garg the treasurer.  UP BJP chief's resignation accepted by Gadkari.

New Dehi: After stock-taking sessions with Uttar Pradesh unit leaders on the party's dismal performance in Assembly polls, BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Friday accepted the resignation of state unit chief Surya Pratap Shahi and appointed four-time MLA Laxmikant Vajpayee to the post.

Vajpayee, a vice-president till now in the UP unit who had served as a minister in the past, is the first BJP UP chief from the western part of the state in several years.

 In choosing the Meerut city MLA, who is a Brahmin, as the state unit chief, BJP has sent across a message that it still values upper caste votes.

Striking a balance in the caste-ridden politics of UP, BJP has made Hukum Singh, a veteran leader, its legislature party chief. Since Singh is a Gujjar OBC leader, also from Western UP, Vajpayee was chosen to represent Brahmins.

Mahendra Singh, who was a vice-president like Vajpayee, has been given the lone ticket to the legislative council.

With most of the blame for BJP's failure to increase its strength in the UP Assembly lying on the shoulders of Gadkari himself, the state unit leaders maintained they cannot be unduly punished.

Sources said that during the meetings held by Gadkari with Shahi and other leaders who were involved in UP elections, the outgoing state President insisted all blame cannot be laid squarely on him and if his resignation is being accepted he should be accommodated suitably.

Shahi, who failed to win the polls from Pathardeva despite all efforts, has been made a special invitee to the party national executive.

The BJP sources said Gadkari had taken all the decisions in the run-up to Uttar Pradesh elections and this had made things easy for the state unit leaders after the poll debacle in passing the buck to him.

The decision to induct Babu Singh Kushwaha, NRHM accused former minister of Mayawati cabinet, was understood to have been taken by Gadkari. He was guided by internal surveys of the party and the quest for improving the seat tally from 51 in 2007 polls to over 100 this time. The party ended up with just 47 seats.

 Though party leaders Vinay Katiyar and Shahi had suggested that Kushwaha should be brought into BJP, the final decision was taken by Gadkari.

In the meeting on Thursday, several leaders said the party had performed badly due to Kushwaha factor.

 Several others said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi should have campaigned in UP, especially as Muslim votes had already gravitated towards Samajwadi Party. Modi would have consolidated Hindu votes in favour of BJP.

 The youth had voted for SP due to Akhilesh Yadav's charisma, some BJP leaders pointed out.

Late declaration of candidates,again being blamed on Gadkari who waited for results of several surveys before he took the decision, again cost BJP dear, sources said.

Some of the UP BJP leaders said they were under pressure from some central leaders to organise their rallies though there was no demand from the candidates.

Faced with criticism, Gadkari decided to take all factions along and accomodated Shahi and others. In choosing state unit president and legislature party chief from western UP this time, he also aims at improving BJP's prospects in this region of the politically important state.

(Agencies)