BJP announces new office bearers, Madhav, Khanna dropped as GS, VP

RSS ideologue from JK Dr Narinder Singh appointed as national secy

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, Sept 26: The staunch RSS man, Ram Madhav who was incharge of BJP for UTs of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh besides party’s national vice president and Prabhari J&K, Avinash Rai Khana don’t figure in the new list of office bearers announced by the party national president, J P Nadda at New Delhi today while strong RSS man from J&K and vice president of J&K Unit of BJP, Dr Narinder Singh has been inducted as national secretary of the party.
The long-awaited list of its national office-bearers was announced by party today after making a major reshuffle in key organisational positions, giving the team a more pan-India look and brought in new faces, including some strongly associated with its core ideology.
The list was announced ahead of Bihar elections which will go to polls next month.
In addition to Ram Madhav, P Muralidhar Rao and Dr Anil Jain, other two general secretaries of the party were also replaced with new faces. Terming replacement of Madhav as the biggest change in the party sources said he has been replaced by Punjab’s Tarun Chug.
This is for the first time Nadda has reshuffled the team since taking from Amit Shah as party president in January this year, sources added.
The highlights of the new list included appointment of Tejasvi Surya, an articulate and fiery advocate of the Hindutva plank, as the party’s youth wing president, and giving place to West Bengal leader, Mukul Roy, and Vinod Tawade and Pankaja Munde of Maharashtra as well as strong RSS man from J&K and former ABVP president ,Dr Narinder Singh in the team. Dr Singh is the second BJP leader in the party’s history from J&K who was inducted in the party as national secretary.
Earlier party had appointed Farooq Khan who is presently Advisor to Lt Governor as the national secretary during 2014 but later he was appointed as Administrator of Lakshadweep.
While the party retained most senior leaders and ex CMs like Raman Singh and Vasaundhara Raje besides Raghubar Dass as national vice presidents several young leaders have also been elevated.
The BJP has also reshuffled its national spokespersons by dropping leaders G V L Narasimha Rao and Meenaksi Lekhi.
Rao has been made as vice president and the two Maharashtra leaders as well as J&K leader secretaries.
Surya replaces Poonam Mahajan. The fire brand BJP leader and former Union Minster, Uma Bharti has also been dropped as vice president along with MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prabhat Jha, Om Prakash Mathur and Shyam Jaju among others, while Saroj Pandey was dropped as general secretary.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi greeted the new team of office-bearers and expressed confidence that they will 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.
There are five new general secretaries among the total eight: Dalit leader Dushyant Kumar Gautam, D Purandareshwari of Andhra Pradesh, C T Ravi of Karnataka, Tarun Chugh of Punjab, a State where the BJP’s ties with ally Akali Dal have nosedived over farm bills, and Dilip Saikia from Assam.
Bhupender Yadav, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Arun Singh have retained their position as general secretaries, who occupy a critical position in the organisation as they are often put in charge of states and serve as a link between the regional and Central leaderships.
Sources said the BJP leadership has chosen to go with leaders who are fit for their role and are seen to be reflective of the party’s ideology.
They said those who have been dropped should not be naturally judged negatively, adding that any new list of office bearers is bound to have a high proportion of fresh faces, something the party’s Constitution also advocates.
However, some may have been dropped for reasons like their comments and for their non performance which has repeatedly irked the leadership sources added.
A party leader said the new team is more diverse, youthful and representative of the BJP’s newfound strength in Southern India and the Northeast.
The party has also increased the number of its national spokespersons to 23, while elevating MP Anil Baluni as the chief spokesperson and keeping him as its national media head. The new spokespersons include former Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Rajiv Chandrashekhar, Tom Vadakkan and young Dalit leader, Guru Prakash while Dr Sambit Patra and Syed Shahnawaz Hussian have been retained as spokespersons.
Amit Malviya remains in charge of the party’s IT wing. The party has also retained Mahinder Pandey as office secretary.
The new list of spokespersons is more representative of social, caste, regional and religious diversity, a source noted.
However, the party has not filled vacancies in its Parliamentary Board, its highest decision-making body. Some vacancies in other positions also remain.
There is a view that Modi may also go for a Cabinet reshuffle in some time. Though there is no official word on this, sources said.
The number of women in the national office bearers list has risen to 13 from eight earlier.
The BJP also named Rajesh Agarwal as its new treasurer while and brought in new faces as heads of its different morchas, with K Laxman, Rajkumar Chahar, Lal Singh Arya, Samir Oraon and Jamal Siddiqui made president of OBC, SC, ST and minority morcha respectively.
It has, however, not announced the head of its Women’s Wing.