Adityanath left high and dry after revamp in key BJP body
SUBHASHIS MITTRA - Wide Angle
The massive shake-up in the BJP's highest decision making body -- the Parliamentary Board -- has left it's poster boy, Yogi Adityanath, high and dry.
The Uttar Pradesh chief minister might have set his eyes on a national role, but his hopes are dashed, at least for now.
The party has inducted leaders from poll-bound states like Karnataka, Rajasthan and Haryana besides seeking to strike a regional balance.
Insiders say the board indicates there is no substitute for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as of now, and the 2024 general election would be fought in his name only.
The board has virtually made it clear that the role of Adityanath, a five-time MP, would be limited to UP only from where 80 MPs are being elected, though he will be a star campaigner in the 2024 national rallies to drum up support for the saffron party.
After becoming the UP chief minister for the second consecutive term and winning a politically tough battle in the recent assembly poll, it was assumed he would be included in the party's parliamentary board.
But, the fact remains that the party is not in a mood to bring him to the national arena now. The inclusion of Rajnath Singh itself marks the representation of UP. Further, he was the former national party president and knows political equations in most of the Hindu belts in the country.
In any case, the rejigged high-profile BJP parliamentary board looks more or less like an extended ‘margdarshak mandal’ in which decisions will be taken only by PM Modi and Amit Shah and others will not air their views.
The 11-member top decision-making body saw some big names being dropped — Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister and former party chief Nitin Gadkari — and some surprise additions too.
The saffron party has made an exercise in diversity, aiming to send a loud and clear message to the public and party workers with the 2024 Lok Sabha polls obviously in mind.
Six fresh inductions are Telangana BJP leader K Laxman, Iqbal Singh Lalpura from Punjab, Sudha Yadav from Haryana, Satyanarayan Jatiya from Madhya Pradesh, veteran BJP leader BS Yediyurappa and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. The new board has no general secretary, chief minister or young leader as a member.
The rest of the parliamentary board comprises BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh, Prime Minister Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. It is chaired by BJP chief J.P. Nadda, who has changed the parameters while reconstituting the board, aiming to make it more inclusive of experience and caste.
The leaders were earlier selected keeping in mind former party presidents. Venkaiah Naidu (party chief from 2002 to 2004) and Gadkari were members in the past, but Gadkari has been dropped now as he often has a different opinion on many subjects.
When it comes to former chief ministers Rajnath Singh in 2006 first inducted (then Gujarat CM) Modi in the board at (former party chief) L.K. Advani’s instance. Later, Shivraj was also included to balance Modi’s addition.
But, this time, it was believed that chief ministers should not be part of the board, so Shivraj was dropped. Another significant change is that young leaders such as (former Union ministers) Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj were given preference in the past but, this time, the addition of (Union ministers) Bhupender Yadav or (Gajendra Singh) Shekhawat was not believed necessary after discussion.
Similarly, Adityanath, the BJP CM of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, and women leaders such as Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Irani, have not been included though they were widely expected to be part of the board.
Shivraj was dropped only to deny Adityanath a chance in the board. The other members are insignificant.
The parliamentary board is the top body in the BJP and decides on chief ministers, state chiefs and other key roles. It has the power to supervise and regulate activities of the legislative and parliamentary units of the party, guide the formation of ministries and regulate all organisations units below the national executive. It also has the powers to take note of any breach of discipline by members, office bearers of state units and take necessary action. 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.