Discontent in the BJP over the new team of office-bearers picked by party chief Nitin Gadkari came into open on Thursday. Miffed at his exclusion, Actor-MP Shatrughan Sinha described the team as “new wine in old bottle”.
Without naming anyone, he said some of those inducted could have been avoided. Some of the “most deserving” people have been left out from the team announced on Tuesday, he added.
Sinha is the first party leader to criticise the team openly. “I have always treated Gadkari like a younger brother and friend. Nevertheless, the composition of the new team, personally speaking, is unfortunate and I am quite unhappy.”
Sinha claimed that the team was constituted without consulting “people who matter like my friend and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and some other top leaders”.
“Being a senior leader, I do not want to break party discipline by making undesirable comments but I am certainly worried and to an extent unhappy with the composition of the team,” he said and went on to add that “most partymen are unhappy but there is time and we will wait and watch”.
Sinha’s observation coincided with party leaders from Bihar complaining that though the state was going to the polls in October, Gadkari had given “over representation” to the Kayasth community, ignoring other castes like the Bhumihar.
Sinha, also seen in Bihar as a Kayasth leader, is said to be upset that Gadkari ignored his claim and chose a fellow Kayasth, Ravi Shankar Prasad, as BJP general secretary.
Sinha, however, denied that he was pressing his case. He said former union minister Yashwant Sinha, who was vice-president in Rajnath Singh’s team, should have been included. Yashwant Sinha, a former leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly, has held key portfolios at the Centre including Finance and External Affairs.
Sinha had fought and won the Lok Sabha elections from Patna.