New Delhi, August 17
In a major reshuffle ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP on Wednesday reconstituted its top decision making bodies — the 11-member Parliamentary Board and the 15-member Central Election Committee — including new faces and dropping senior minister Nitin Gadkari and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan, indicating their diminishing stock in the party.
The omission of Gadkari from the powerful board signals a major generational and political shift in the highest echelons of the BJP in the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah era.
A senior minister, Gadkari is also a former BJP chief. Normally, the party keeps former presidents in the decision-making process. Besides, Gadkari who represents Nagpur in the Lok Sabha is also known for his proximity to BJP’s ideological mentor RSS.
The party made six new entries, including Punjab cadre IPS officer Iqbal Singh Lalpura and Haryana leader Sudha Yadav, in the Parliamentary Board. Headed by president JP Nadda, the two panels include who’s who of the BJP — Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh.
Currently, the chairman of National Commission for Minorities, Lalpura has been included in both the committees like Sudha Yadav. He is the first Sikh to have a seat on the Board as a person from a minority community.
Having held key posts in the border districts during the militancy period in Punjab, Lalpura was one of the officers who arrested militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in a case related to clash between some Sikhs and Nirankari sect members.
Meanwhile, former Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa and union minister Sarbananda Sonowal have also found place in the new committees.
BJP OBC Morcha head K Laxman and senior MP leader Satyanarayan Jatiya have also been included in the all-powerful Board. They are also a part of the new CEC along with Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, union minister Bhupendra Yadav, BJP women wing president Vanathi Srinivasan and senior leader Om Mathur.
An important Lingayat leader, Yediyurappa was forced to resign as the Chief Minister amid infighting and allegations of corruption. Lingayats are a politically powerful block which accounts for 18 per cent of the votes in poll-bound Karnataka.
Sonowal amicably agreed to make way for Himanta Biswa Sarma after the BJP was re-elected in Assam.
This is the first time the panels were reconstituted under Nadda, who took over as the party president in 2020.
The board had vacancies due to the death of senior leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj and M Venkaiah Naidu and Thaawarchand Gehlot being made the Vice President and Governor, respectively.
When Shah was party president, veteran leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were eased out and made members of ‘Margdarshak Mandal’.
Leaders said the new Parliamentary Board shows how the party rewards old workers and values the experience of its karyakartas. “Leaders like BSY, Jatiya, Laxman have given their lives to the party, building it brick by brick from the start. Their inclusion offers a glimpse of how the BJP values its esteemed Karyakartas.
There is emphasis on diversity. Sonowal is from the Northeast, Laxman and Yeddiyurappa are from the south, Lalpura is a Sikh. Sudha Yadav is a self-made political leader whose husband was martyred in Kargil. Her inclusion shows the topmost respect to women and families of the armed forces,” they added.
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, who led the BJP to an unprecedented second term in the state, has not been “rewarded” with a seat at the decision-making table, some observers pointed out.
The Parliamentary board is the top body in the BJP and decides on chief ministers, state chiefs and other key roles.
Who’s in, who’s out
Six new faces: BS Yediyurappa, Sarbananda Sonowal, K Laxman, Iqbal Singh Lalpura, Sudha Yadav and Satyanarayan Jatiya
Dropped: Nitin Gadkari, Shivraj Singh Chouhan
Former Union minister Shahnawaz Hussain and Jual Oram from CEC
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