In a major organisational shake-up, the BJP on Wednesday rejigged its parliamentary board, its decision-making body, along with the Central Election Committee (CEC), which were functioning without full strength for the last eight years.
While the exclusion of Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and inclusion of former Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa caught most of the attention, the fact there is neither any CM nor any Muslim face in the CEC went widely unnoticed.
Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister was in the party’s parliamentary board along with Chouhan for a long time before he became the prime minister in 2014. After Modi’s elevation, Chouhan continued to be a member of the board, which has a maximum of 11 members.
In fact, Chouhan was the only chief minister in the board since 2014 till he was dropped. Even Yogi Adityanath, who was widely speculated to join the board, failed to make a cut to the party’s top body.
According to BJP sources, quoted by Times of India, the BJP dropped Chouhan from the parliamentary board to send him a signal about his reducing clout in the organisation. They also said that the party was gradually sidelining leaders who were once close to veteran leader L K Advani.
The third reason, according to the sources, was that the BJP did not wish to keep any CM on the board. This was because it did not want to make Adityanath a board member, given his growing stature and popularity.
Meanwhile, the CEC is bereft of any Muslim face after the party dropped Syed Shahnawaz Hussain from the body. Hussain was included in the CEC by Rajnath Singh when he became the party’s national president in 2005.
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.
Recently at an event in Nagpur, Gadkari was reportedly quoted as saying that present-day politics is more about powerplay, and at times he thinks of quitting politics.