SEVEN MONTHS after he took charge as national president of the BJP, J P Nadda on Saturday picked a new team to potentially steer the party organisation into the next Lok Sabha election in 2024.
The new list is significant as much for the names it leaves out — both Ram Madhav and P Muralidhar Rao, the two general secretaries considered close to the RSS, have been dropped, setting off speculation that some of these leaders could be accommodated in the Union Council of Ministers or in the parliamentary board, the party’s apex decision making body.
While Nadda has appointed former chief ministers Vasundhara Raje, Raman Singh and Raghubar Das as vice-presidents, he did not include Devendra Fadnavis in the list. Sources said Fadnavis, who was recent put in charge of poll-bound Bihar for the party, could be elevated to the Parliamentary Board. Among the general secretaries, either Bhupender Yadav or Arun Singh could be considered for the parliamentary board, they said.
Apart from Madhav and Rao, the significant omissions are general secretaries Anil Jain and Saroj Pande and vice-presidents Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Om Mathur, Uma Bharti, Prabhat Jha, Shyam Jaju and Avinash Rai Khanna.
Nadda has appointed Rajesh Agarwal as the new treasurer, a post that has been vacant since Piyush Goyal was inducted into the Union Cabinet. Sudhir Gupta, Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh, is the joint treasurer.
Many of Amit Shah’s team members have been retained with their old responsibilities. While Anil Baluni will remain national media in-charge, he will head a larger team of spokespersons, among them Rajya Sabha MP Rajiv Chandrashekhar and former I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore. Sambit Patra, Sudhanshu Trivedi, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Gopal Krishna Agarwal, Nalin S Kohli and K K Sharma will continue to be national spokespersons.
BJP sources said Nadda’s team has 60 per cent new faces, with more representation to women — there are 14 women among office bearers — and OBCs. They claimed the “entire country” has been represented in the team and that the average age has come down.
Among vice-presidents, representatives from both West Bengal and Kerala, two states that go to polls next year, have been accommodated. Mukul Roy, who switched over from the Trinamool Congress and played a key role in the BJP’s gaining ground in West Bengal; and A P Abdullakutty, who moved from the CPI-M to Congress and then to the BJP in Kerala, have been inducted as vice-presidents.
Among Nadda’s new general secretaries, none except D Purandeswari and C T Ravi (a minister in the Yediyurappa government in Karnataka) have electoral experience. B L Santosh will continue as general secretary (organisation). National joint secretaries V Satish, Saudan Singh and Shivprakash remain in their posts.
Former Maharashtra ministers Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde, who had been sidelined in the state BJP, have been appointed national secretaries.
The party’s firebrand MP from Karnataka, Tejaswi Surya, has been appointed chief of the Yuva Morcha, replacing Poonam Mahajan. The OBC Morcha will be headed by K Laxman, SC Morcha by Lal Singh Arya, ST Morcha by Samir Oraon and Kisan Mocha by Rajkumar Chahar. The party’s minority morcha will be headed by Jamal Siddiqui.
Incidentally, Nadda has not appointed anyone to head the Mahila Morcha.
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