The big changes that BJP president Nitin Gadkari promised to bring when he took over three months ago are still far away, judging by the new team of office bearers he announced on Tuesday.
Gadkari picked many old hands and a few new faces, leaving many aspirants disappointed even as he sought to perform a balancing act by giving ample representation to various factions and social groups.
Rajnath Singh, who had to make way for Gadkari, appeared to have succeeded in ensuring most of the office bearers close to him when he was president, remained undisturbed in Gadkari’s reshuffle.
Among the other nine general secretaries, at least four are Rajnath Singh’s core followers, led by former Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda.
Former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje was also made general secretary, honouring the commitment made to her in return for her stepping down as leader of the Rajasthan opposition.
Gadkari’s personal stamp was reflected in the choice of Himachal Pradesh minister Jagat Prakash Nadda, as a general secretary, whom he was associated closely with during their days in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
The RSS, which pitched strongly for Gadkari being made president, has reasons to be pleased, with many of its men allotted key positions. They include Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Murlidhar Rao and Tarun Vijay, former editor of RSS mouthpiece Panchajanyaya.
In a bid to show 33 per cent went to women, Gadkari filled the national executive with leaders like Maharashtra BJP youth wing leader Shaina N. C., film star Kiron Kher, Poonam Azad (wife of former cricketer Kirti Azad), and Shobhatai Phadanvis.
Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, who were critical of the party after the poll debacle, retained their membership of the national executive.