Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan were dropped from the BJP’s highest decision-making body today in an organisational shake-up that saw Devendra Fadnavis and BS Yediyurappa score after recent setbacks.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who led the BJP to an unprecedented second term in the state, is a glaring exclusion after buzz that he would be rewarded with a seat at the decision-making table.
The party’s rejigged parliamentary board, which has six new faces – BS Yediyurappa, Sarbananda Sonowal, K Laxman, Iqbal Singh Lalpura, Sudha Yadav and Satyanarayan Jatiya – signals a generational and political shift in the highest tiers of the BJP in the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah era.
The parliamentary board is the top body in the BJP and decides on chief ministers, state chiefs and other key roles.
Nitin Gadkari’s omission from the important committee is seen as the biggest shocker in this revamp. Mr Gadkari, a senior minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, is a former BJP chief and the party has traditionally kept its former presidents in the decision-making process. Because of his deep connect with the party’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Mr Gadkari had stayed put despite the pot-shots he had frequently aimed at his own government.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, also a former BJP chief, has made a re-entry into the parliamentary board.
Devendra Fadnavis has been included in the election committee – a big boost after he was forced to accept a downgrade to Deputy Chief Minister when the BJP came to power in Maharashtra with Shiv Sena rebel Eknath Shinde.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also been dropped from the parliamentary board, in a huge blow to the man who has been Chief Minister for 20 years.
Mr Yediyurappa was forced to resign as Chief Minister last year over infighting and allegations of corruption. At 77, he is way past the party’s unwritten age bar of 75. Sources say the influential Lingayat politician has been unhappy for some time and the party wanted to pacify him to ensure his cooperation in the Karnataka election next year. Lingayats are a politically powerful bloc that accounts for 18 per cent of the votes in Karnataka.
Former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who agreed to make way for Himanta Biswa Sarma after the BJP was re-elected in the state earlier this year, has been named to the parliamentary board as well as the Central Election Committee.
The only constants in this shuffle are PM Modi, Amit Shah, BJP chief JP Nadda and the party’s BL Santhosh.