Gadkari, Chouhan out; Yeddi, Vanathi, Fadnavis in BJP board
NEW DELHI: In a major shake-up, the BJP on Wednesday dropped Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from its parliamentary board, its apex organisational body, and brought in six new members, including Karnataka leader BS Yediyurappa and Iqbal Singh Lalpura, the first Sikh representative.
The party also rejigged its Central Election Committee (CEC) and named Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Bhupender Yadav among its new members. Gadkari and Chouhan ceased to be CEC members after their ouster.
All parliamentary board members, which include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh and BJP president J P Nadda, automatically become part of the CEC, which has some additional members as well.
The other new board members are K Laxman, Sudha Yadav and Satyanarayan Jatiya, three old party faithfuls but considered political lightweights, besides Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, a tribal leader from Assam.
BJP General Secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh is an ex-officio member of the both bodies.
The board, which was once dominated by upper castes, now has a majority of members from non-general castes. Former Union ministers Jual Oram and Shahnawaz Hussain have been dropped from the CEC.
After these changes, the board now has the full strength of 11 members while the CEC has 15 leaders.
The new entrants to the CEC are Rajasthan leader Om Mathur and BJP women wing chief Vanathi Srinivasan besides Fadnavis and Bhupender Yadav. Srinivasan replaces her predecessor Vijaya Rahatkar as the party’s ‘Mahila Morcha’ chief as its an ex-officio member.
With Chouhan gone, there is no Chief Minister on the board.
There was speculation that UP CM Yogi Adityanath may make an entry. Union minister Piyush Goyal, who is also the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, Dharmendra Pradhan and Bhupender Yadav were also seen as contenders.