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Fate of BJP veterans hangs in balance

india Updated: Aug 23, 2014 12:28 IST
Kumar Uttam
BJP’s parliamentary board

Confusion about the role of veterans in BJP’s parliamentary board is holding up reconstitution of the party’s highest decision-making body.

The party’s parliamentary board consists of the BJP president and 10 other members, one of whom shall be the leader of the party in Parliament.

On August 16, party chief Amit Shah named a new team of party’s national office-bearers but held back announcement about the new parliamentary board.

Including Shah, who was not a member of the parliamentary board earlier, the present panel has 12 members. Ram Lal, the general secretary (organisation), is an ex-officio member of the board.

In order to accommodate Shah, the party has to drop an existing member and, in all probability, the axe may fall on Union minister Ananth Kumar.

But Shah is also required to accommodate one of the general secretaries in the panel, who may also officiate as the secretary of the board. This has led to the requirement of another member being dropped from the board.

Besides Shah, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Venkaiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar, Thawarchand Gehlot and Ram Lal are members of the board.

A BJP leader said Shah is not inclined at making cosmetic changes in the panel and wants a major overhaul.

A source said that Shah wants “functional” leaders in the panel who would be pressed into service in the coming years to rebuild the party in areas where the BJP is not a force to reckon with.

If his idea sails through, it could see veteran Vajpayee and former Union ministers LK Advani (86) and Murli Manohar Joshi (80) losing their seats.

“But a consensus has not been arrived at. Some in the party feel that removing these seniors may lead to unnecessary controversies and should be avoided,” another senior BJP leader told HT.

A source said some seniors have advised Shah to consider making minimum changes in the board and set up an “informal group” within the parliamentary board, which can be meet on a regular basis and take decisions on important matters.