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Advani, Joshi dropped from top BJP body

Amit Shah completes transition in party, puts veterans in new ‘mentors panel’

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: August 27, 2014 4:28 am
Vajpayee, Joshi and Advani at the BJP executive on February 23, 1996. (Source: Express archive) Vajpayee, Joshi and Advani at the BJP executive on February 23, 1996. (Source: Express archive)

The transition in the BJP is now official: party veterans L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee are no longer part of its highest decisionmaking body.

On Tuesday, the BJP announced that the trio that has occupied the top rung of its leadership since the formation of the party in 1980, had been dropped from its Parliamentary Board.

However, in an apparent attempt to placate the veterans and fend off accusations of treating the party old guard shabbily, BJP president Amit Shah has formed a new committee, the Margdarshak Mandal or group of mentors.

This five-member panel has Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and the three veterans on it. The role of the panel — which is not mentioned in the party constitution — is, however, not yet clear. A senior BJP leader said it would have advisory status, with no decisionmaking powers.

Vajpayee has been unwell, and not been active in politics for several years. Advani, a former party president, fell out of favour with the new leadership after trying unsuccessfully to stall Modi’s rise by opposing the move to declare him its prime ministerial candidate.

Joshi, also a former BJP president, has never hidden his disapproval of Modi’s leadership style.

The BJP’s spectacular victory in the April-May elections greatly diminished Advani’s relevance in the party. Signals of his slide were strong and frequent: he was denied the post of Speaker, not allowed to occupy the seat next to the Prime Minister in the Lok Sabha, and his nameplate was removed from his office in Parliament House.

But party leaders said both Advani and Joshi had been consulted before the new Parliamentary Board was set up.

“They will show the way,” spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said. He declined to comment on who would chair the Margdarshak Mandal, or on the role it would play.

The age of Advani and Joshi has been cited as the reason for keeping them out. Advani is 86; Joshi 80. Modi did not induct anyone over 75 while choosing his council of ministers.

However, youth alone is clearly not what Amit Shah is looking for. Varun Gandhi, 34, was shown the door when Shah reconstituted his team earlier this month. Party leaders said he had been punished for showing a tendency to act independently.

Shah has inducted three-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and party general secretary J P Nadda as new members in the 12-member Parliamentary Board. The induction of Chouhan, and the retention of Ananth Kumar, both of whom are considered close to Advani, happened on the recommendation of the party patriarch, a BJP leader said.

The Parliamentary Board chaired by Shah now has Modi, Rajnath, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Thawarchand Gehlot, Chouhan, Nadda and Ramlal as its members.

Shah has also reshuffled the Central Election Committee, from which he has dropped the senior leader from Uttar Pradesh, Vinay Katiyar. The CEC has the 12 members of the Parliamentary Board, besides the BJP Mahila Morcha president Vijaya Rahatkar, tribal leader Jual Oram, and Shahnawaz Hussain.


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  1. J
    Aug 26, 2014 at 11:23 pm
    What goes around comes around. Modi's team truly deserves the victory, and it's their prerogative to take these decisions. Too bad for Advani/Joshi - stop crying and do whatever you guys do. If you are truly that interested in developing a better India, there are plenty of things you can contribute to.By the way, Modi is no spring chicken either. What goes around will come around again, and he should be prepared and happily relinquish his position when the time comes.
    1. S
      Aug 27, 2014 at 11:41 am
      I surprized move of Bjp to drop gr8 leader from party every body know their leaders standard it means present gov loosing good politician who broughtthis position finally got good bye let see what is fate of others even
      1. T
        Aug 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm
        The ultimate purge of A dvani and Joshi from active BJP politics.Finally Modi had his say.
        1. A
          Abdulraheman Patrawala
          Aug 27, 2014 at 3:19 am
          Time from Party Sattak to Praja Sattak. Therefore, the People's Republic of Hindustan.
          1. O
            Aug 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm
            This is yet another goodaction in the sequence of bold yet fundamental moves undertaken by BJP.Similarity can be drawn to selection of Modi as the PM candidate. New things are happening to Indian polity. Events such as evolution of AAP, retirement of aged leaders etc shall have a positive impact. Even Rahul tried to introduce in Congress but he is a weak leader. Other parties are envious as they just cannot emulate and are fearful of the cohesive and sharpened BJP. They fear that they shall soon be subsumed. These very people had no kind words for Advani till a year ago and suddenly found him convenient tool to take potshots on BJP. Their game is wide open and Govt must stick to the planned script.
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