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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

BJP 2.0: Kamandal with a mandal touch

Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 02, 2014
First Published: 00:07 IST(2/9/2014) | Last Updated: 00:09 IST(2/9/2014)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s entry in national politics set in motion a generational change in the BJP and its transformation from a Brahmin-Baniya party to a political organisation that resembles Mandal parties without losing its Hindutva edge.

The choice of Amit Shah — Modi’s right-hand man — as BJP chief has also helped the PM consolidate his grip over the party, which was riddled with factionalism.

The Modi-Shah duo has quietly, yet successfully, guided the party through a generational shift without the established Delhi leadership posing any real challenge.

The ease with which the troika of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi — all founding members of the BJP — was dropped from the party’s parliamentary board was a clear display of the new leadership’s might.

Despite never shying away from flaunting his humble background, Modi has already demonstrated that his loyalists will matter in the years to come — with key ministerial portfolios going to leaders close to him and Shah’s election as BJP chief despite initial reluctance from the party and the RSS.

For those who were still in doubt, the exit of Varun Gandhi — BJP’s youngest general secretary, who did not share a warm relationship with Modi — from the team of national office-bearers, was yet another red flag.

Under Modi and Shah, BJP has promised to continue its outreach towards the scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs) and other backward classes (OBCs) for whom the party, was not a ‘national option’. 

Analysts say the OBCs and SCs, who picked regional outfits in the states, went along with the BJP in the Lok Sabha election because it gave them the first real opportunity to taste power at the Centre.

Another visible change was the scale at which young leaders were promoted. While Dharmendra Pradhan, Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, etc hold key assignments in the government, others like Ram Madhav, Shrikant Sharma and Anil Baloni have been allocated important responsibilities in the party.


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