Human resource development minister Smriti Irani and minority affairs minister Najma Heptulla were dropped from the BJP’s national executive on Thursday as party president Amit Shah reconstituted the organisation’s top decision-making body ahead of a meeting next month.
Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi, who was dropped as national general secretary last year, was retained in the top committee that includes Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, both of whom have been in the news recently over their controversial remarks.
Subramanian Swamy, who just missed the bus to the Rajya Sabha, was accommodated but Mumbai leader Shaina NC -- in contention for a Rajya Sabha berth from Maharashtra – was dropped. Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who vacated his Lok Sabha seat Hazaribag for son Jayant Sinha, was also given a place.
Mathura MP Hema Malini, senior party spokesmen Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Sudhanshu Trivedi, an aide of home minister Rajnath Singh didn’t make the cut. The party, however, said names on the list were in addition to the BJP’s national office bearers, who remained members of the panel, a reference to Hussain and Trivedi.
"Those who are office bearers and heads of different morchas are members of the executive. The Thursday list is about the others," said BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma.
Some leaders who hadn’t made it to the list may be accommodated as national office bearers, sources said. All present and former party chief ministers, deputy CMs, leaders of legislative parties, state presidents and general secretaries (organisation) would be member of the top committee.
The new members will gather in Bangalore for a two-day conclave on April 3 and 4 – the first after Shah took over as the BJP chief – and take stock of organisation matters such as its ongoing membership drive, the recent poll debacle in Delhi and the upcoming electoral challenge in Bihar later this year.
The national executive will also reaffirm the party's position on issues such as terrorism and separatism that have been giving it the jitters after the release of separatist leader Masarat Alam by the Jammu and Kashmir government, where the saffron party is in alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party.
The national executive will be preceded by a meeting of the party’s office bearers on April 2.
Other prominent members in the top BJP panel include Delhi's former leader of opposition Vijay Kumar Malhotra, former Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon and Kerala leader O Rajagopal – all of whom were in the race to be named governors. Former union minister from Odisha Dilip Ray also made a comeback into the top panel.
Former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, who vacated his Amritsar seat for finance minister Arun Jaitley, and Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh's son Rajveer Singh were part of the group. Patna Sahib MP Shatrughan Sinha and Sheshadri Hari, a former editor of RSS mouthpiece 'Organiser', were also accommodated.
Deepak Chopra, a long time aide of sidelined veteran leader LK Advani and former Rajya Sabha member Balbir Punj, also considered close to Advani, however, weren’t included in Thursday’s list.