Virtually putting top leaders such as MM Joshi and Sushma Swaraj under Narendra Modi, the BJP on Friday unveiled its Team 2014 to be headed by the Gujarat chief minister.
Party veteran LK Advani — who had rebelled against Modi as the BJP’s poll face — and party president Rajnath Singh will play mentors along with the ailing Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Friday’s announcement was a return to a full-blown Modi pitch that began in Goa in June, when the BJP elevated him as its face for the general elections. The past few days had seemed to hint at a more collective campaign wherein both Modi and Rajnath would pick poll committees in consultation with other top leaders.
Now, the picture shows Modi clearly in charge. The 12-member central election committee will include, among others, Joshi, Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and the BJP’s three other CMs — Shivraj Singh Chouhan (MP), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) and Manohar Parrikar (Goa).
There will be 20 sub-committees to support the main team. “The central campaign committee and committees under it will be steered by Narendra Modi,” general secretary Ananth Kumar said.
“The central committee is nothing but the parliamentary board, but Modi is sitting on it as the party’s de-facto leader,” a BJP leader said.
Almost all the leaders have been involved in some way or another, making the arrangement a mammoth one. Rajasthan leader Vasundhara Raje didn’t make the cut. “She is busy with polls. But the CMs of poll-bound MP and Chhattisgarh are here as they are CMs,” explained a BJP leader.
Making the Modi stamp even clearer, his aide Amit Shah has been tasked with reaching out to first-time voters, which means the party’s youth campaign will be centered around the CM. Shah will also be in the publicity committee — jointly headed by Swaraj and Jaitley — with Rajnath loyalist Sudhanshu Trivedi.
Joshi will be in charge of drafting the manifesto, assisted by Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Bihar leaders Sushil Modi and Shahnawaz Hussain.
Varun Gandhi will help organise party rallies alongside Ananth Kumar.
Gopinath Munde and Ravi Shankar Prasad will draft a chargesheet against the UPA while Piyush Goel will be involved with the information communication campaign.
A proposal to divide the campaign into zonal committees was shot down at the last moment as some senior leaders weren’t happy with the distribution of states, sources said.
Highlights of Ananth Kumar's press conference:
# We have finalized our election management team: BJP
# Manifesto committee to be headed by MM Joshi
# BJP will release vision document for 2014 polls under the leadership of Nitin Gadkari
# Our campaign committee will have Sushma Swaraj, Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley, Sudhanshu Trivedi: Ananth Kumar
# We will hold more than 100 rallies across the country. They will be arranged by Ananth Kumar and Varun Gandhi
# We will begin our campaign from August. Our leaders will be campaigning in the LS constituencies
# BJP has decided to hold events for farmers, tribals. There will be morchas too for women, SC, ST
# For campaigning for new voters Amit Shah, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Trivendra Rawat, Poonam Mahajan will be responsible.
# Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Prakash Javadekar and Tamil Esai will be responsible for mobilising intellectuals
# Nitin Gadkari, Uma Bharti, CP Thakur, JK Jain, Mridula Sinha to head committee for campaigning in unorganised sector
# LK Advani, AB Vajpayee, Rajnath Singh, and 11 others are on the BJP central poll panel
# BJP will make a chargesheet against the misrule of the UPA. This will be headed by Gopinath Munde and Ravi Shankar Prasad
# Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media will be handled by Piyush Goel
# Legal matter will be handed by Satpal Jain, Bhupendra Yadav, Pinky Yadav
# Logistics co-ordination team will be headed by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
# Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Sudha Yadav, Renu Kushwa will be responsible for software by BJP for coordination of booths across country
# Nitin Gadkari has been asked by Rajnath Singh to take special attention of Delhi elections
# Nitin Gadkari will head BJP's poll campaign in Delhi assembly elections
# Navjot Singh Sidhu will help Gadkari in looking after Delhi assembly polls
# All the campaign committees will be steered by Narendra Modi
# All our campaigns will be under the guidance of LK Advani, Vajpayee