The BJP may decide to name an Adivasi or a backward class leader as its nominee for the Deputy Speaker’s post — to match the Congress’ decision to name a Dalit woman leader — Meira Kumar — for the Lok Sabha Speaker’s post.
Karia Munda, 72, who got elected from Khunti, Jharkhand, Sripad Naik, 57 (North Goa) and Gopinath Munde, 59 (Beed) have emerged as front-runners as BJP brass discussed the names ahead of the party’s parliamentary board’s meeting on Tuesday.
Munda is a ST leader who served in the Vajpayee government, while Naik and Munde are backward class leaders.
LK Advani and other BJP leaders also discussed the name of 41-year-old Shahnawaz Hussain, who is not only the party’s Muslim face but also a young leader. Hussain is understood to have conveyed his preference to do parliamentary work as an Opposition leader.
In case, the BJP preferred to send across a ‘secular’ image following the Lok Sabha results, Hussain’s name could come for serious discussion, BJP sources said.
Earlier, the party leaders had toyed with the name of Sumitra Mahajan, six-times MP from Indore, when the Congress offered the Deputy Speaker’s post to the main Opposition party.
Advani was authorised by BJP chief Rajnath Singh and the party’s parliamentary wing to decide on the name for the post of Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha as well as that Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
Jaswant Singh and Sushma Swaraj, who were Leader and Deputy Leader respectively, have got elected to the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, Advani and Rajnath Singh called on visiting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to give their views on what went wrong with the BJP causing its debacle in the Lok Sabha polls.
Advani is said to have told Bhagwat that the BJP failed to gauge the mood of the voters whose profile had undergone a lot of changes. On the other hand, Singh toed the RSS’ view that “in-fighting” was a major factor for the defeat.
They discussed the “future course of action” and “correctives” for the BJP to redeem its status. Arun Shourie, former Union Minister and BJP MP, also called on Bhagwat.
Dismissing reports that the Sangh was conducting any “inquest”, RSS leader Ram Madhav told HT that Advani and Singh had sought the meeting with Bhagwat, who happened to be in the Capital at that time.
Singh described the meeting as a “courtesy call”.
Without mincing words, RSS mouthpiece Organiser had said the BJP went “horribly wrong” in understanding the mood of voters as it depended heavily on hi-tech campaigning.
“Politics is played out in the field, not in air-conditioned chat rooms. There is a disconnect between the party and its mass base,” it said.