BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday announced names for the 178-member party national executive, surprisingly dropping high-profile cabinet minister Smriti Irani.
The pruned top decision-making body of the BJP — the size of the national executive has been reduced by 20 per cent — also omitted women leaders Najma Heptulla and Hema Malini as well as former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, whose name does not figure among former party chief ministers in the panel.
Two cabinet ministers, Birendra Singh and Suresh Prabhu, who joined the party recently, have been inducted into the new team. Shah has retained all top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu as members. Ministers V K Singh, Rao Inderjeet Singh and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Subramanian Swamy, were included as members.
The party officially did not give any explanation to the significant omissions and maintained that the new president has chosen his team that would help him to take the party’s interests forward. Party sources said Irani’s exclusion is a reflection of the “growing discontent” among many leaders as well as the party workers towards her “style of functioning”. “It’s a clear message to those who consider themselves as above the party,” said a party leader.
Yeddyurappa was dropped because a section of party leaders was of the view that leaders with tainted image should be kept away from key posts, a source said.