JP Nadda announces new team of BJP’s national office-bearers

Elevation of Tarun Chugh and selection of former IPS Iqbal Singh Lalpura as national spokesman is an interesting development for Punjab in light of recent developments

JP Nadda announces new team of BJP’s national office-bearers

BJP national president JP Nadda. PTI File Photo

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26

The long-awaited team of the BJP president JP Nadda was announced Saturday with many prominent names from the previous team missing and several new faces included. Party leaders said all efforts had been made to maintain a regional balance with adequate representation to all prominent States.

The most prominent changes are in the list of eight general secretaries, the crucial organisational position that serves as the link between the states and the central leadership, which now has five new faces including Punjab’s Tarun Chugh.

Chugh is a national secretary in the outgoing team and his elevation is being viewed with a lot of interest in the wake of the BJP’s recent fallout with Punjab ally Akali Dal over farm bills. It is being seen as a BJP’s effort towards projecting leadership in the State which it has so far been contesting with the Akalis as the senior partner. Notably, Punjab has another representation in the form of former IPS officer Iqbal Singh Lalpura as national spokesperson.

Though Haryana does not have direct representation in the team, newly-appointed General Secretary Dushyant Kumar Gautam (Rajya Sabha MP) has a connection to the state.

Dr Narendra Singh from Jammu and Kashmir is the national secretary in ‘Team Nadda’ in which senior leaders Bhupender Yadav (MP, Rajasthan), Arun Singh (MP, Uttar Pradesh) and Kailash Vijayvargiya (Madhya Pradesh) have been retained as General Secretary and Ram Madhav, P Muralidhar Rao, Saroj Pandey and Anil Jain dropped to make way for Chugh (Punjab), Gautam (MP, Delhi), D Purandareswari (Andhra Pradesh), CT Ravi (Karnataka) and Dilip Saikia (Assam).

Young and fiery advocate of ‘Hindutva plank’ Tejasvi Surya has made an entry as the president of the party’s youth wing in place of Poonam Mahajan.

Nadda also expanded the list of spokespersons to 23, with Rajya Sabha MP and current media head Anil Baluni being elevated as the chief spokesperson. Others on the list include former ministers Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahanawaz Hussain and former Congress leader from Kerala Tom Vadakkan.

Uttar Pradesh leader Rajesh Agarwal has been appointed treasurer in place of union minister Piyush Goyal while Mandsaur MP Sudhir Gupta will be his deputy. Amit Malviya has been retained as the IT cell and social media in charge.

Other appointments include K Laxman as head of the Other Backward Classes Morcha, Jamal Siddiqui as chief of the minority wing and Lal Singh Arya as chief of the SC (Scheduled Castes) Morcha and Fatehpur Sikri MP Rajkumar Chahar as the head of the Kisan Morcha Radha Mohan Singh, Mukul Roy, Rekha Verma, Annapurna Devi, Bharti Shiyal, DK Aruna, M Chuba Ao, AP Abdullakutty were appointed national vice presidents in the reshuffle.

The party also made clear its focus areas, including West Bengal, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, by giving place to West Bengal leader Mukul Roy and Vinod Tawade and Pankaja Munde of Maharashtra in the team.  Punjab’s Aviansh Rai Khanna, Uma Bharti, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prabhat Jha, Om Prakash Mathur, Shyam Jaju were among those dropped from the list.

Changes are also expected in the Parliamentary Board — the BJP’s highest decision-making body — where there are vacancies due to the passing away of senior leaders Ananth Kumar, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and the election of veteran leader M Venkaiah Naidu to the post of the Vice-President of the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the new team of office-bearers and expressed confidence that they would uphold the “glorious tradition” of the party of serving the people of India selflessly and with dedication.

“Congratulations and best wishes to the new team. I am confident they will uphold the glorious tradition of our party of serving the people of India selflessly and with dedication. May they work hard to empower the poor and marginalised,” he tweeted.

Sources said the selection reflects the party’s ideology. Some leaders also appear to have been dropped for reasons like “making comments that were not appreciated by the senior leadership and non-performance”.

“It is customary for the new president to have a new team,” they stressed, adding that the “team has a mix of new and existing to ensure the continuity”.

Though the buzz also is that some of those who have been dropped could make an entry in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers. Prime Minister Modi greeted the new team and expressed confidence that they would uphold the “glorious tradition” of the party of serving the people of India selflessly and with dedication.

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