Rejig in BJP top panel to make room for Shah

  • Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 25, 2014 00:43 IST

To accommodate newly appointed party president Amit Shah in the BJP parliamentary board, chemicals and fertilizers minister Ananth Kumar may be dropped.

The panel, which is the party’s highest decision making body, has the party chief as chairman and 10 other leaders.

“With Shah becoming president, the number of members in the panel has gone up to 12. One of the existing members will be dropped,” a senior BJP leader said.

Though, ailing BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is a member of the panel, has not attended a single party meeting in last several years, he is unlikely to be dropped.

Senior RSS functionaries also held a four hour long meeting with three top BJP leaders here on Thursday to discuss organisational matters, including the shape of future BJP team.

Later in the evening, the RSS leaders had dinner with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The party’s national office bearers consist of a president, 13 vice presidents, nine general secretaries, 15 secretaries and a treasurer.

The meeting was first such interaction between RSS and BJP leaders since Shah took over as BJP President.

A general sense within the BJP and the RSS is to keep the average age of the party’s office bearers below the age of 60-62.

“We want to invest in future leaders. Some seniors may find a place as vice presidents, but general secretaries and other office bearers would consist of young leaders,” another BJP leader said.

Former health minister CP Thakur (82), former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh (82), former Punjab minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla (73) and Lok Sabha MP Bijoya Chakraborty (74) are prominent among those who face the risk of being dropped. Three vice presidents — Jual Oram, Smriti Irani and Uma Bharti — will also be replaced since they have joined the government.

Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi will be repeated as general secretary and so will be Saran MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy if he is not inducted in council of ministers, which is likely to be expanded sometime soon.

Three general secretaries —Thawarchand Gehlot, Ananth Kumar and Dharmendra pradhan — who have become ministers will also be relieved of their organisational duties.

Another general secretary Murlidhar Rao is tipped to become vice president and he could be replaced with Ram Madhav, a senior RSS leader who joined the BJP some days ago.

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