In a move to bring new synergy among top leaders, the BJP establishment has roped in former HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi to head the party’s team to write its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections.
Similarly, Arun Jaitley is back as head of a panel that is charged with the task of media management and publicity. Jaitely’s team will include current spokespersons Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Prakash Javadekar and Balbir Punj.
Senior leaders Jaswant Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Sushma Swaraj are now members of a party committee that is empowered to discuss the issue of alliances and seat sharing with other NDA parties.
The changes have been made ahead of a key conclave called by the BJP in Bangalore between September 12 and 14. As many as 240 delegates, including chief ministers, will join the three-day national executive meeting that will focus on poll preparations and issues to go to the people. Terrorism, economy, agricultural crisis, price rise and the India-US nuclear deal will top the list of issues that will be taken up at the Bangalore meet.
BJP officials said party chief Rajnath Singh effected the changes in consultation with L.K. Advani and other senior leaders.
The return of Joshi to an active role is seen as “significant” by other BJP leaders because it means there will be greater “ideological” content in the party’s campaign for the next polls.
Joshi was initially reluctant to take up the assignment but agreed to do so after other BJP leaders persuaded him. Joshi had hitherto kept himself aloof because he had differences with Advani. Other members of Joshi’s panel include Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj and Bal Apte.