The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under President Jagat Prakash Nadda got a new team on Saturday. While there are no major changes in the previous team, the efforts are clearly aimed at the electoral goals of the party.
The party shall now have 13 vice-presidents, nine general secretaries and 13 secretaries on the national level. Efforts seem to have been made to maintain balance between the principles of not having multiple office bearers from a single state, and including people to give representation to diverse groups to achieve electoral goals.
Induction of Bandi Sanjay Kumar, the former BJP chief of Telangana as the national general secretary, is likely to help the party in the poll-bound state where the party is hoping to make inroads. Union minister G Kishan Reddy has been appointed as Telangana BJP chief. This is expected to help the party in the state.
Similarly, the two major communities that the BJP has been eyeing for past some time are the Pasmanda Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and the Christian community in Kerala. With inclusion of Tariq Mansoor as vice-president and Anil Antony as national secretary respectively, Nadda has given a boost to the effort. Mansoor, a prominent Pasmanda name, is former vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, while Antony is the son of senior Congress leader and former defence minister A K Antony. Kerala BJP already has a Muslim face as vice-president in the form of P Abdullakutty. He has been retained by the party.
Leaders who lost their posts
In the backdrop of the BJP’s defeat in Karnataka, controversial party leader C T Ravi, who lost from his own seat, has been removed as general secretary. Other leaders to lose their posts are senior leader and former Union minister Radha Mohan Singh, ex-West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, and Lok Sabha MP from Gujarat Bharatiben Shiyal, all removed as vice-presidents. Lok Sabha MP Dilip Saikia has been dropped as general secretary and Lok Sabha MPs Vinod Sonkar, Harish Dwivedi (both from Uttar Pradesh), and Sunil Deodhar are out as secretaries.
Maharashtra still has three of its leaders in Nadda’s national team. Vinod Tawde who was general secretary and Pankaja Munde and Vijaya Rahatkar, both from the Marathwada region and were secretaries, have been retained in the positions. While Tawde is sought after by the national leadership for his skills in electoral management, Munde and Rahatkar appear to have been retained keeping in view their regional and social backgrounds. Munde is a prominent OBC name in Maharashtra while Rahatkar represents the Marathwada region where the BJP has more hopes to expand its base.
Kailash Vijayvargiya retained as general secretary
Kailash Vijayvargiya, who played a key role in establishing the BJP as an alternative force in West Bengal, has been retained as general secretary. The move is also crucial on the backdrop of BJP facing a fierce battle to retain Madhya Pradesh, the state Vijayvargiya belongs to.
Similarly, former general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP from Chhattisgarh Saroj Pandey, who was dropped from the national team in the last BJP rejig in September 2020, has been re-accommodated as vice-president. Another woman leader from poll-bound Chhattisgarh, Lata Usendi, a former state minister, and BJP Rajya Sabha chief whip Laxmikant Vajpayee have been appointed vice-presidents in the new national team.
Assembly elections are due in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Rajasthan later this year, and among those retained are former chief ministers Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) and Raghubar Das (Jharkhand). They had been inducted immediately after the party lost power in these states.
While Rajesh Agarwal remains the treasurer of the party, Sudhir Gupta has been replaced by Naresh Bansal as co-treasurer. D Purandeswari, who was recently appointed as BJP Andhra Pradesh president, has been dropped as general secretary.