M A I N   N E W S

Shah rejigs BJP team; Nadda, Anurag in; Varun missing
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

(1)BS Yeddyurappa, Vice-president (2) Anurag Thakur, Yuva Morcha chief (3) JP Nadda, General secretary (4) Tarun Chugh, Secretary (5) Varun Gandhi,
Dropped as gen secy

New Delhi, August 16
A week after his appointment was ratified by the party’s National Council, new BJP president Amit Shah today unveiled his crack team dropping Varun Gandhi as general secretary and inducting scam-tainted former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa along with Himachal leaders JP Nadda and Anurag Thakur.

A mix of youth and experience, Shah’s team, which has Prime Minister Narendra Modi's stamp of approval, comprises 11 vice-presidents, eight general secretaries (four new faces) and 14 secretaries.

The surprise element was elimination of Varun, a Lok Sabha member from Sultanpur. This comes days after his mother and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi pitched for his projection as the party's chief ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh.

Party sources say Varun has been left out deliberately. Apparently, he had objected to projection of Sultanpur strongman Sanjay Singh — engaging in a direct confrontation with Shah who was UP in charge in the Lok Sabha elections. Sources say Varun had also complained to former party president Rajnath Singh.

Mathura MP Hema Malini is another big name left out by Shah. Controversial Karnataka strongman BS Yeddyurappa has been inducted as one of the vice-presidents. The four new general secretaries include Ram Madhav—the RSS spokesman who joined the party recently—outgoing BJP Mahila Morcha chief Saroj Pandey, Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan Bhupendra Yadav and Ram Shankar Katheriya.

Madhav’s sangathan colleague from UP— Shiv Kumar—is the new joint secretary (organisation), signifying the increasing footprint of the ideological fountainhead in the political organisation.

No announcement has been made regarding the all-powerful Parliamentary Board. Sources predict major changes in the coming days that may see veterans like LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi making way for Modi-Shah loyalists. Veterans could be made a part of a new set-up— Margdarshak Mandal, a sort of a guidance team.

In the new set-up, northern states (apart from Himachal Pradesh from where JP Nadda was retained as the general secretary and Anurag Thakur as the Yuva Morcha chief) had to contend with post of secretaries.

Tarun Chugh, Punjab BJP general secretary with active roots in the RSS-ABVP, has been included as secretary in Shah's team. Chugh has worked extensively in Assembly elections in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. From the poll-bound Haryana, Sudha Yadav has been retained as secretary while Anil Baluni from Uttarakhand is the new spokesman.

No representation has been given to Jammu and Kashmir—a state where Shah hopes to strike big in the coming Assembly elections.

Spokesman in the Rajnath Singh’s team, Captain Abhimanyu, has been left out by Shah. Sources said the Haryana leader has been asked to concentrate on Assembly elections.

Nadda’s presence in the team along with leaders like Rajiv Pratap Rudy is an indication that they are unlikely to be considered in the expansion of council of ministers that is expected soon.

Anurag Thakur has been retained as the Yuva Morcha chief. Thakur said he was "very happy to be re-appointed" to the key post. He said he would step up efforts to strengthen the youth base of the party.

Sources said the list may be expanded as there are vacancies for two more general secretaries.

The list of vice-presidents includes Bandaru Dattatreya, BS Yeddyurappa, Satpal Malik, MA Naqvi, P. Ruppala, Prabhat Jha, Raghuvar Das, Kiran Maheswari, Renu Devi and Dinesh Sharma. The new general secretaries are: JP Nadda, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Muralidhar Rao, Ram Madhav, Saroj Pandey, Bhupendra Yadav, RS Kateria and Ram Lal (organisation).

Party banks on a Mix of youth & experience

* BJP chief Amit Shah’s team comprises 11 vice-presidents, eight general secretaries (four new faces) and 14 secretaries

* BS Yeddyurappa has been inducted as vice-president. Himachal leaders JP Nadda and Anurag Thakur have been named as general secretary and Yuva Morcha chief, respectively. Tarun Chugh, Punjab BJP general secretary, inducted as secretary

* The surprise element is the elimination of Varun Gandhi, a Lok Sabha member from Sultanpur, as general secretary





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