With the inclusion of BS Yediyurappa, Sarbananda Sonowal and former Lok Sabha MP Satyanarayan Jatiya among others in its parliamentary board, the BJP has taken into account the caste and regional aspirations of the country amid forthcoming assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
While senior leaders Nitin Gadkari and Shivraj Singh Chouhan have been dropped from the BJP parliamentary board, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been made the members of party’s Central Election Committee (CEC), which selects candidates during Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Former Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa, Union minister Sarabananda Sonowal, former minister for social justice and empowerment Satyanarayan Jatiya from Madhya Pradesh, former IPS officer Iqbal Singh Lalpura, BJP national OBC Morcha President K Laxman, national secretary Sudha Yadav and BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh are part of the parliamentary board. All the 11 parliamentary board members are also part of the CEC, which comprises 15 leaders.
The move to remove Madhya Pradesh chief minister Chouhan from the BJP’s highest decision-making body comes amid growing murmurs within the BJP about him being replaced ahead of the state assembly polls next year.
Fadnavis, however, by being part of the CEC, has been given more power in the party’s Maharashtra unit.
While many BJP leaders remained tight-lipped on Gadkari’s removal from the lists, some expressed surprise but said nothing more.
Balancing Power Equations in States
With former Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa, who enjoys clout over state cadre, now being part of the BJP parliamentary board and CEC, leaders believe his stature in the state unit has been strengthened. Amid BJP fighting rumours of changing Karnataka CM, many in the party believe that Yediyurappa’s presence in the board is likely to pacify him a bit.
Similarly, inclusion of Sarbananda Sonowal and leaving out Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, whose clout has grown beyond Assam, from the parliamentary board shows maintaining power equations in the northeast.
The BJP has also accommodated leaders from the states, which are going to polls — Telangana, Haryana and Rajasthan. BJP leaders like OBC Morcha President K Laxman, Om Mathur and Sudha Yadav along with Union minister Bhupendra Yadav, have been accommodated to the CEC to make decisions over finalising party tickets. Elections in both Telangana and Rajasthan are scheduled in 2023 whereas Haryana goes to polls in 2024.
Maintaining Caste Balance
While Sonowal is a tribal leader, Satyanarayan Jatiya is from the SC community, and K Laxman and Sudha Yadav are OBCs who are now part of the BJP parliamentary board. Replacing former Union minister Shahnawaz Hussain, BJP chose Sikh intellectual and chairman of National Commission for Minorities Iqbal Singh Lalpura. With Hussain’s exit, there is no Muslim leader in both the board and the CEC.
75 Age No Bar?
With the BJP deciding to retire those who are above 75 years or not give election tickets to them, some senior leaders in the party have made remarks about including Yeddiyurappa, 79, and Jatiya, 76, in the board. “Though it was said about not giving tickets to those above 75 years, nothing has been said about those who can be part of the board or election committee,” a party leader pointed out.