New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah Saturday announced his new team of office bearers. Former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was inducted as vice president and former RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav as general secretary, but Lok Sabha member Varun Gandhi was dropped.
The new team of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office bearers saw Shah seeking to strike a balance between regional representation and age and experience.
The team will lead the BJP’s efforts in four states facing assembly polls later this year.
The new team includes 11 vice presidents, eight general secretaries, 14 secretaries and 10 spokespersons.
Varun Gandhi, Lok Sabha member from Sultanpur, was dropped days after his mother and union minister Maneka Gandhi pitched for him as the party’s chief ministerial face in Uttar Pradesh.
Party sources said a reason for dropping Varun Gandhi could be that his mother was already a union minister.
Shah – who became BJP president July 9 – retained J.P. Nadda, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Murlidhar Rao as general secretaries and Ramlal as general secretary (organisation).
Apart from Ram Madhav, the new general secretaries include Saroj Pandey, Ram Shankar Katheriya and Bhupendra Yadav.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will continue to be party vice president.
Vinay Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who was a key aide of former party chief Nitin Gadkari and is associated with training programmes, has also been made a vice president.
“The new team has representation from all sections and regions,” Nadda said.
Anurag Thakur, who was retained as chief of the party’s youth wing, said the new team has several young faces. “Youth have got opportunity,” he said.
Bandaru Dattatreya, Satyapal Malik, Purushottam Rupala, Prabhat Jha, Raghuvar Das, Kiran Maheshwari, Renu Devi and Dinesh Sharma are among the party vice presidents.
The new team has sizeable presence of people associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the party’s ideological fountainhead.
V. Satish, Saudan Singh, Shiv Prakash and B.L. Santosh will be the new joint secretaries (organisation).
Five spokespersons have been retained – M.J. Akbar, Shahnawaz Hussain, Sudhanshu Trivedi, Meenakshi Lekhi and B. Sonkar Shastri.
The new spokespersons are Nalin Kohli, Sambit Patra, Anil Baluni, G.V.L. Narasimha Rao and Lalita Kumaramangalam.
The appointment of new spokespersons is significant considering that the number of party briefings have reduced considerably after Narendra Modi became prime minsiter.
Shrikant Sharma, who headed the media unit of the party, and Siddharth Nath Singh, who was part of the team that steered the party’s preparations in West Bengal, is among the 14 secretaries.
Former union minister Pramod Mahajan’s daughter Poonam Mahajan is also a secretary in the new team.
Other party secretaries are Shyam Jaju, Anil Jain, H. Raja, Ramen Deka, Sudha Yadav, Ram Vichar Netam, Arun Singh, R.P. Singh, Jyoti Dhruve, Tarun Chugh and Rajneesh Kumar.
Vijaya Rahatkar will be BJP Mahila Morcha chief.
With both Amit Shah and Prime Minister Modi from Gujarat, the list of BJP office bearers mentioned their states to highlight the regional representation.
The Congress, meanwhile, taunted the BJP over induction of Yeddyurappa, who had to resign as chief minister in the wake of corruption allegations and had floated his own party before returning to the BJP before the Lok Sabha polls.
“Yedyurappa has been made vice president to fight corruption. The country will watch,” Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said.