Updated: September 30, 2021 12:30:55 pm
ALTHOUGH THE national executive meet is considered to be the BJP’s constitutional mechanism for internal democracy, and at least five states have held their state executive meetings physically with national leaders attending them, the last time the ruling party called a full-fledged national executive conclave was more than two years ago – in January 2019.
There is no word yet on the next such meet. In fact, the national leadership has not yet figured out the composition of the national executive.
At least three senior BJP leaders The Indian Express spoke to tried to downplay the delay. “Things are moving very efficiently in the organisation and not holding the national executive has not created any hurdles to the functioning so far,” said one of them.
However, a section in the BJP, which includes some senior leaders, blamed the current party leadership for the delay. They said pandemic restrictions have been given as an “excuse” for deferring the meeting. “The party leadership has not been able to even constitute the new national executive team. One should ask the national leadership why there is no national executive meeting,” said a leader.
This assumes significance as it comes in the context of BJP’s national leadership facing criticism of “centralisation”of powers – a handful of leaders taking decisions without wider consultation – and that it does not allow the regional leaders to emerge with a strong image.
The BJP’s constitution says, “National Executive and State Executive – Once every three months.” In 2010, the party had strengthened its national executive by increasing the number of members from 80 to 120 while providing 33 per cent reservation for women in it.
Incidentally, the state executives of a number of key states have already met. BJP national president J P Nadda had earlier directed all state unit chiefs to hold the meetings from June 21. Although the national leadership has given the option of virtual meetings, a number of state units held it physically.
The two-day state executive meeting of Assam BJP was held on September 22-23 with Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal attending it. Assam in-charge and BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda was also present at the meeting held in Guwahati.
The state executive of Uttar Pradesh met in July with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and former Union minister and UP in-charge Radha Mohan Singh being present. Nadda addressed it virtually from Delhi.
Gujarat BJP organised a three-day conclave from September 1-3 at Kevadia Colony, which was presided over by state BJP chief C R Paatil. Union minister Rajnath Singh and Union minister and Gujarat party in-charge Bhupender Yadav attended the meeting.
Madhya Pradesh BJP, which has more than 160 members in its executive, met in June although with limited attendance because of the pandemic protocol. The meeting was also attended by Nadda.
While the Rajasthan unit held its state executive on March 2, the Karnataka unit held it this month.
Other wings of the BJP have also held physical conclaves. For instance, the national executive meeting of the Scheduled Caste Morcha was held in Varanasi.
Some senior leaders indicated that the national BJP changes its style of functioning according to challenges before the party and the nation.
BJP general secretary and Union minister Bhupender Yadav said: “Meetings of office-bearers are happening regularly virtually. The party president regularly takes such meetings. During the pandemic, the BJP is the party that has remained most active.”
“The BJP always changed its dimensions according to the challenges – when democracy was in danger [during Emergency], we merged with Janata Party. In 1989, when corruption was the biggest challenge, the BJP stood against it. Ours is the party that took up governance issues when the country faced challenges on that front. So, during the pandemic, we have proved that service is also a kind of politics,” he told The Indian Express at an Idea Exchange programme.
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