NEW DELHI,(GGS NEWS) 01 April : Reflecting his new-found clout, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was inducted into BJP’s parliamentary board on Sunday, apparently setting the stage for a bigger national role for him.
Announcing Modi’s inclusion in the party’s highest decision-making body, BJP president Rajnath Singh released the list of his 74-member new team with controversial leader and former Gujarat home minister Amit Shah, facing murder charges in two fake encounter cases, along with Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi as general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Smriti Irani as vice-president.
62-year-old Modi was the sole BJP leader to be inducted into the 12-member Board, filling a lone vacancy, pipping Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan in a race in which Modi appeared to have had the advantage after his hat trick in Gujarat.
Modi’s induction was on expected lines as there was a growing clamour within the party for giving him a prominent role outside Gujarat after his third consecutive victory in the assembly polls recently.
The only chief minister to be included in the parliamentary board, Modi is being projected by many in BJP as the party’s prime ministerial candidate and the new hope for bringing the party to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Incidentally, it was Singh who had removed Modi from the parliamentary board around six years back. Modi has also been made a member of the central election committee, a body whose role will be crucial in ticket distribution in the 2014 polls.
Modi’s stamp was also visible in other appointments announced on Sunday with Amit Shah becoming a general secretary in Singh’s team. Smriti Irani, considered close to Modi, has been elevated to the post of vice-president.
The team announced by Singh, who became president of the BJP for a second time in January when Nitin Gadkari was denied another term due to allegations of financial irregularities by his Purti Group, has Varun Gandhi, Murlidhar Rao and Rajiv Pratap Rudy as general secretaries.
While many in BJP feel Varun Gandhi can be used as counter to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi especially in Uttar Pradesh, Rao has made the cut due to his proximity to Sangh fountainhead RSS. Rudy, a Rajya Sabha MP, is close to Singh and was a spokesperson in the earlier team.
Hindutva face Uma Bharti, who was brought back to the BJP fold by Gadkari, has been appointed vice-president, along with former Karnataka chief minister Sadanand Gowda and former deputy leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha SS Ahluwalia.
Ravi Shankar Prasad will no longer be a general secretary and chief spokesperson. He will continue as BJP’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha. Another general secretary Kiran Maheshwari has been made vice-president.
Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot, JP Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan and Tapir Gao have been retained as general secretaries.
RSS has not changed its pointsmen in BJP with Ram Lal continuing as general secretary (organization), along with joint general secretaries V Satish and Saudan Singh, who were part of Gadkari’s team as well.
The other new vice-presidents are former Bihar BJP chief CP Thakur, Balbir Punj, Jual Oraon, Satpal Malik, former Madhya Pradesh head Prabhat Jha, and Laxmikant Chawla.
Only Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Bijoya Chakravarty have been retained as vice-president.
Kalraj Mishra, Shanta Kumar, Vinay Katiyar, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Najma Heptullah, Hema Malini, Purushottam Rupala, and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank were some of the vice-presidents in the previous team.
Another notable appointment is that of Poonam Mahajan, daughter of late party leader Pramod Mahajan, who has been made a secretary.
Singh has tried to keep a fair representation of castes, regions and factions within the BJP while giving prominence to people close to him, BJP sources said. Around 80 per cent of the team is below 60 years in age, they said.
While Shyam Jaju, Bhupendra Yadav, Vani Tripathi, Arti Mehra will continue as secretaries, Krishan Das, Anil Jain, Vinod Pandey, Trivendra Rawat, Renu Kushwaha, Sudha Yadav, Sudha Malaiya and Tamil Isai will be new appointments to that post.
Besides Jual Oraon, the other tribal leader in Singh’s team is Luise Marandi from Jharkhand who will be party secretary.
Saroj Pande succeeds Smriti Irani as the Mahila Morcha chief while Anurag Thakur has been given another term as Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha head.
Rajnath Singh’s political advisor Sudanshu Trivedi has been made a Spokesperson, along with Meenakshi Lekhi, Abhimanyu and Vijay Sonkar Shastri. Prakash Javadekar, Shahnawaz Hussain and Nirmala Sitharaman will continue as spokespersons.
Sanjay Paswan has been made President of the BJP SC Morcha and Faggan Singh Kulaste president of the ST morcha, while Abdul Rashid will head the minority morcha and Om Prakash Dhankar will lead the party’s kisan morcha.
Rajya Sabha MP Piyush Goyal has been retained as treasurer and OP Kohli as headquarter in charge, while former MP Ramkripal Sinha will be office secretary of parliamentary party and Shanmuknathan its joint office secretary.
The party’s central disciplinary committee has Radha Mohan Singh as president, Jagdish Mukhi as secretary and L Ganesahn, Hari Babu and Shyam Nandan Singh as its members.
The 12-member central parliamentary board headed by Singh has top party leaders Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Ram Lal in it, besides Modi who was inducted on Sunday.
All these top leaders alongwith Gopinath Munde, Jual Oraon, Shahnawaz Hussain, Vinay Katiyar, JP Nadda and Dr Harshwardhan will be part of the party’s central election committee. As mahila morcha chief, Saroj Pandey will be the ex-officio member of this committee.
Singh’s new team has 12 vice-presidents, 10 general secretaries, 15 secretaries and seven spokespersons, besides a 19-member central election committee and a five-member central disciplinary committee.