Gadkari’s exclusion from the Parliamentary Board is particularly significant as he is a former president of the party, and the other two former presidents —Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh continue to be members. The exclusion of Gadkari follows after another former president, LK Advani was dropped from the Board
In a move that is likely to give Union Home Minister Amit Shah greater role in the BJP and in governance, the party’s president JP Nadda on August 17 effected a major organisational rejig of the Parliamentary Board, the highest decision making authority in the party, and the Central Election Committee (CEC) that goes into candidate selections, a rejig that is significant more for the exclusions than inclusions.
The Parliamentary Board, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is also a member, former BJP president and Roads and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has been dropped as has Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Gadkari’s exclusion is particularly significant as he is a former president of the party, and the other two former presidents — Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh continue to be members. The exclusion of Gadkari follows after another former president, L.K. Advani was dropped from the Board.
The Board in its previous form had five vacancies due to the passing away of senior leaders Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, and Ananth Kumar and the election of Venkaiah Naidu as Vice-President of India and Karnataka Governor Thawarchand Gehlot being appointed to that post.
In the 11-member Board, not constituted since 2014, when Home Minister Amit Shah was party president, Nadda, Prime Minister Modi, Shah, Rajnath Singh and general seceretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh continue as before.
In the vacancies thus filled, interestingly, the inclusions are former Chief Minister of Karnataka B.S. Yediyurappa, whose inclusion acknowledges the fact that he is unlikely to fade into the political sunset anytime soon and is still a force to reckon with in State politics. Mr. Yeddyurappa has also been made member of the CEC.
Former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has also been appointed to the Parliamentary Board, party sources saying in a bid to diversify the membership, as he belongs to a tribal community from Assam. The chief of the party’s OBC Morcha and Rajya Sabha MP K. Laxman who belongs to Telangana is another significant inclusion.
For the first ever in the party’s recent history, a Sikh member, Iqbal Singh Lalpura has been appointed to the Board, a nod to the protest movement against the farm laws (which the Union Government repealed) and the political exigencies in Punjab. Other inclusions are former MP from Mahendragarh in Haryana, Sudha Yadav. Her husband, Deputy Commandant Sukhbir Singh Yadav, of the Border Security Force (BSF), had died fighting Pakistani intruders during the Kargil war. Satynarayana Jatiya, former MP and former Union Minister in the Vajpayee Government.
In the 15 member CEC, the surprise inclusion has been that of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis, an acknowledgement that he needed validation at the national level, in order to offset the disappointment felt by some quarters in Maharashtra BJP over him being overlooked as Chief Minister. BJP’s mahila morcha president, Tamil Nadu MLA Vanathi Srinivasan has also been made a member of the CEC. Union Minister Bhupendra Yadav and senior party leader Om Mathur are the other two members. Former Union Ministers Jual Oram and Shahnawaz Hussain have been dropped.
Rejig emphasises diversity, says BJP
“The new reconstituted Parliamentary Board shows how the party rewards old workers and values their experience. People like B.S. Yediyurappa, Satyanarayan Jatia, K. Laxman have given their lives to the party, building it brick by brick from the start. Their coming to the highest decision-making body shows how the party values its esteemed Karyakartas (workers),” BJP sources said.
Pointing towards the diversity of the newly constituted Parliamentary Board, BJP sources said: “There is an emphasis on diversity. Sarbananda Sonowal is from the Northeast, L. Laxman and B.S. Yeddyurappa hail from South. In Iqbal Singh Lalpura there is a Sikh.”
“Sudha Yadav is a self-made political leader whose husband was martyred in Kargil. Her inclusion shows utmost respect to women and families of armed forces personnel. Representation from the South and Northeast is at an all-time high in the Parliamentary Board,” sources added.
Eleven members of the reconstituted Parliamentary Board includes BJP chief J. P. Nadda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and Sarbananda Sonowal, former Karnataka Chief Minister Yediyurappa, OBC Morcha national president K. Laxman, Iqbal Singh Lalpura, Sudha Yadav, Satyanarayan Jatia and national general secretary (organisation) B. L. Santhosh.
The 15-member Central Election Committee includes the 11 members of the Parliamentary Board and Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, Om Mathur and national president of party women wing Vanathi Srinivasan. Senior leaders Shahnawaz Hussain and Jual Oram were dropped from the CEC.
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