New Delhi, December 2
With eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP on Friday named former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and state Congress ex-chief Sunil Jakhar as members of the party’s all-important national executive that includes PM Modi, BJP chief JP Nadda and ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, among others.
Former Punjab minister Rana Gurmit Sodhi has been appointed special invitee to the committee, the top deliberative body of the BJP that sets political agenda for the workers and signals to them the nature of narratives to follow. Alongside Amarinder Singh and Jakhar, former UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh was also included in the executive. With the new inclusions, the committee membership has increased to 83.
Former Punjab minister Manoranjan Kalia and Amanjot Kaur Ramoowalia, daughter of senior Punjab politician Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, have also come in as special invitees along with Madan Kaushik from Uttarakhand and Vishnudev Sahay from Chhattisgarh. Another important appointment is of former Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill as the BJP national spokesperson. Shergill had quietly joined the BJP recently while Amarinder along with daughter and son and Jakhar had joined the BJP in Delhi on September 19.
The appointments come on the eve of a two-day preparatory meeting Nadda has called starting Monday to discuss Lok Sabha election challenges and India’s G20 presidency. BJP state in-charges and general secretaries will attend the meeting in Delhi.
The development aims at boosting the BJP’s prospects in Punjab where it remains electorally weak. The party has two Lok Sabha MPs from the state—Sunny Deol from Gurdaspur and Som Parkash from Hoshiarpur—while the Congress has eight of the total 13. The BJP wants to plan ahead for 2024, which would be the first General Election it would contest without the Shiromani Akali Dal. The two had parted ways over farm laws in 2020, ending their 24-year alliance.
Even in the Punjab elections held earlier this year (where BJP and SAD contested separately), the BJP won only two seats and the SAD three in the 117-member House even though the saffron family scripted history by retaining UP and Uttarakhand and managing to stay in power in Goa and Manipur.
- Cong ex-minister Rana Gurmit Sodhi is special invitee
- Congress ex-spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill named national spokesperson
- National executive now has 83 members, 55 special invitees, 179 permanent invitees
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