Young and new faces and the requirement of regional,social and political balances appear to have influenced the composition of Rajnath Singhs new team of office-bearers and national executive announced on Sunday.
The first indication of bringing new blood is reflected from the fact that 32 of 51 office-bearers vice-presidents,general secretaries,secretaries,spokespersons and in frontal organisations are new faces. Most of them are younger as well.
Even the national executive,which Rajnath has trimmed from 238 during the Gadkari term to 207,has about 40 per cent new faces. In fact,he has denied a place to over 70 previous national executive members. The notable exclusions are former NDA ministers Arun Shourie,Maneka Gandhi and Sumitra Mahajan.
Around 80 per cent of the members are aged below 60, claimed a new office-bearer.
However,Rajnath has used the national executive to park senior leaders whom he could not entrust with organisational responsibilities. They include two Atal Bihari Vajpayee loyalists Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha,along with eight old vice-presidents Kalraj Mishra,Shanta Kumar,Vinay Katiyar,Bhagat Singh Koshiyari,Najma Heptullah,Hema Malini,Purushottam Rupala and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank who have failed to secure organisational responsibilities in his new team.
The BJP president,in the process,has also sought to strike a balance with regional satraps,with an eye on social and political considerations.
With Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and JD(U) maintaining a confrontationist posture against Narendra Modis formal ascendancy,Rajnath has inducted two backward leaders Renu Kushwaha and Rameshwar Chuarasia from the state as secretaries and retained one Muslim leader,Shahnawaz Hussain,as party spokesperson to counter JD(U) backward support base.
Rajnath has also sought to pander the BJPs traditional support base by inducting Rajiv Pratap Rudy (a Thakur) as general secretary,Radha Mohan Singh (also a Thakur) as disciplinary committee chief and CP Thakur (a Bhumihar) as vice-president in his new team.
As for Rajasthan,Ghanshyam Tiwari,leader of the faction opposed to state unit chief Vasundhara Raje,has failed to retain a place in the executive,while Raje loyalist Rajendra Rathore has got a place in this body. Kiran Maheshwari has been elevated as vice-president to keep partys traditional trader support base in good humour.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan managed to cut the potential rivals from the state former state unit chief Prabhat Jha and former chief minister Uma Bharti to size by getting them insignificant posts of vice-presidents with little influence in state matters.
Rajnath appears to have brought Chouhans key ministerial lieutenant Kailash Vijayvargiya,who is from Indore,in the national executive at the expense of Sumitra Mahajan,party MP from Indore,who has failed to retain her place in the executive.
As for poll-bound Karnataka,Rajnath has tried to strike a caste balance by bringing in former chief minister Sadananda Gowda,who hails from Vokkaliga community,as the vice-president to supplement partys chief ministerial candidate Jagadish Shettar,a Lingayat community member,and state unit chief Prahlad Joshi,a Brahmin.
As for politically crucial Uttar Pradesh,the BJP president appears to have been guided by the need to counter young political opponents Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party ) and Rahul Gandhi (Congress) by elevating Varun Gandhi as general secretary. In addition,he has brought in Vinay Katiyar,a backward class leader,into the central election committee and Satpal Malik,a Jat leader from western UP,as vice-president to woo the backwards along with several other leaders from different communities in the national executive.
As for poll-bound Delhi,Rajnath has inducted former state unit chief Harshvardhan into the central election committee to keep in check state unit chief Vijay Goels sway over assembly ticket distribution later this year.
Party MP from Durg in Chhattisgarh,Saroj Pandey,has been appointed partys new womens wing president.
In Maharashtra,while Gopinath Munde remains in the central election committee,the party has inducted Pramod Mahajans daughter Poonam Mahajan as secretary.