BJP’s big reshuffle: No Yogi; Gadkari out; Yediyurappa and Fadnavis in

Iqbal Singh Lalpura and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, K Laxman, Sudha Sadav and Satyanarayan Jatiya are the other new members of the BJP’s apex organisational body

Nitin Gadkari, Gadkari praises former PM Manmohan Singh, NHAI
Union minister Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have been dropped from the BJP’s parliamentary board, while six new faces have been introduced, including BS Yediyurappa and Devendra Fadnavis.

While Yogi Adityanath, who has been gaining political girth after storming to power in Uttar Pradesh again, was expected to be added to the board, he was kept out of it.

Iqbal Singh Lalpura and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, K Laxman, Sudha Sadav and Satyanarayan Jatiya are the other new members of the BJP’s apex organisational body. The changes by the party is being read as an attempt to make the parliamentary board more socially and regionally representative.

Lalpura will be the first Sikh to have a seat in the BJP parliamentary board as a person from a minority community. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh and BJP president J P Nadda are among its members.

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The omission of Gadkari, 65, an RSS man, and Chouhan, 63, indicates their diminishing stock within the party.

The BJP leadership also rejigged the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) and included former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, Om Mathur and its women’s wing chief Vanathi Srinivasan.

Former Union minister Shahnawaz Hussain and Jual Oram have been dropped from the CEC, whose members also include all parliamentary board members. After these changes, the board now has the full strength of 11 members while the CEC has 15 leaders.

The new entrants to the CEC are Rajasthan leader Om Mathur and BJP women wing chief Vanathi Srinivasan besides Fadnavis and Bhupender Yadav. Srinivasan replaces her predecessor Vijaya Rahatkar as the party’s Mahila Morcha chief.

With Chouhan gone, there will be no chief minister on the board.

Besides Yogi Adityanath, Union minister Piyush Goyal, who is also the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, Dharmendra Pradhan and Bhupender Yadav were also seen as contenders for the committee. Yadav, though, is in the CEC now.

Both Yediyurappa and Jatiya are over 75 years of age, an informal age bar within the party for holding important posts as it has gone all out to reduce the average age of its organisational leaders.

Yediyurappa’s inclusion highlights the party’s efforts to reward the Lingayat leader whose community is critical to its poll prospects in the Karnataka assembly election slated for the next year. He was replaced by Basavaraj Bommai as chief minister in 2021. Bommai met Yediyurappa to congratulate him after the announcement.

Fadnavis’ induction into the CEC is being seen as an acknowledgment of his importance after the former Maharashtra chief minister was asked by the party to become the deputy chief minister in the Eknath Shinde-led government, a position for which he was initially reluctant.

This is the first time the board has been rejigged under Nadda, who took over as the party president in 2020. The board had several vacancies caused by the death of Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj while Venkaiah Naidu and Thaawarchand Gehlot had to leave it after becoming Vice President and state governor respectively.

When Shah was the party president, veteran leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were eased out of the crucial party body in 2014 and made members of Margdarshak Mandal, as the party on Modi’s watch worked to make the organisation and government more youthful.

Among the new board members, Sudha Yadav and Laxman are from the Other Backward Classes while former Union minister Jatia is from the Scheduled Castes. Sonowal is tribal.

Party sources said the exercise shows how the party “rewards” old workers and values their experience.

“Yediyurappa, Jatia and Laxman have given their lives to the party, building it brick by brick from the start,” they said.

“There is also an emphasis on diversity. Sonowal is from the Northeast, Laxman and Yediyurappa hail from the south. In Lalpura, there is a Sikh representing minorities,” a leader told PTI.

He described Sudha Yadav as a self-made political leader whose husband was martyred in Kargil.

(With inputs from agencies)

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