The generational shift in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started when then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was declared the head of BJP’s election campaign committee in 2013. Eventually, Modi was declared the Prime Minister candidate of the party before the big battle of 2014. Rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, every single decision of the party has the stamp of PM Modi and Amit Shah, Minister of Home Affairs. It was no different when the BJP reconstituted its parliamentary board, party’s highest decision-making body, on Wednesday (August 17).
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has been dropped and so has Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Five new members have been inducted into the board. Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has found a place on the board and so has former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. Sonowal’s induction signals new Northeast phase and it’s also an indication to the party cadre that the “old guard” won’t be neglected. Telangana leader K Laxman and Haryana leader Sudha Yadav have also been included on the board. Iqbal Singh Lalpura, the chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities, too is in the party’s top decision-making body.
Through this reconstitution ahead of the crucial state elections and in the run-up to the big battle of 2024, the BJP has tried to strike a fine balance of region and caste. K Laxman is president of BJP’s OBC Morcha, and party’s trusted leader from Telangana. A Rajya Sabha MP, Laxman has been associated with the party for over four decades.
A party leader in Delhi told The New Indian, “Nitin Gadkari ji has an image of being an independent person and has publicly expressed opinions which have embarrassed the leadership.”
Former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s induction, who has been publicly sulking, shows how serious the party is about the forthcoming Assembly polls in the state.
After the demise of former Union minister Sushma Swaraj, the apex decision- making body of the BJP didn’t have any female member. With the induction of Haryana leader Sudha Yadav, the party has tried to make a gender balance.
Yadav is a war widow from Haryana, whom then BJP general secretary Narendra Modi had inducted in the party.
For the first time in party’s history, a Sikh face, Iqbal Singh Lalpura, has found a place in the party’s parliamentary board. Former IPS officer, Lalpura had joined the BJP in 2012.
“After the exit of the SAD (Badal), it was Lalpura ji who was travelling across Punjab at a time when farmers’ protest was at its peak. The party has sent out a message to the Sikhs,” a BJP leader pointed out.