Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi will attend his first meeting of BJP’s parliamentary board on Tuesday, which follows party chief Rajnath Singh’s decision to handover Uttar Pradesh affairs to his close confidant Amit Shah to prepare for the Lok Sabha polls.
Singh called the board, which is BJP’s supreme body, to review the political situation and the party’s preparations for the elections.
A day after his decision, Singh also appeared defending Shah’s appointment, saying giving him the responsibility was “not a crime” and it was not done under any pressure from Modi.
“Modi has not recommended anybody,” Singh said.
“He (Shah) is a general secretary of the party and has been a minister in a highly successful state. I think making him in-charge is not a crime.”
Singh’s decision apparently has upset other senior leaders as the BJP chief signaled that he had thrown his lot with Modi before his actual projection ahead of the 2014 polls.
Shah, who faces a CBI probe into his alleged involvement in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, will make his debut in UP when he courts arrest in Rampur on May 29 as part of BJP’s nationwide campaign against the UPA.
Rampur, which is the home constituency of senior UP minister Azam Khan, has the highest number of Muslim voters in the country.
Meanwhile, Rajnath Singh has set up for the first time 13 think tanks or working groups to study BJP’s focus areas for the 2014 polls.
They include one for economic issues under Yashwant Sinha, for foreign affairs under Jaswant Singh, for ties with neighbouring countries under Ravishankar Prasad, and for youth issues under Vani Tripathi.
While Satpal Malik will head one on agriculture, Seshgiri Rao for security matters, SS Ahluwali for north-east, Satpal Jain for legal affairs and MA Naqvi for minority issues.
Naqvi is also heading a special panel, which has Rajnath Singh’s close aide Sudanshu Trivedi, for overseeing action on BJP programmes.
Among the special cells, Singh has again entrusted the charge of media matters to Shrikant Sharma, who has been in-charge since 2009.
BJP’s overseas affairs convenor Vijay Jolly announced that the party’s first chapter has opened for Africa in Nairobi.