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Varun Gandhi dropped from BJP national executive after Lakhimpur Kheri tweets, Maneka out too

BJP national president J.P. Nadda Thursday reconstituted the 80-member national executive for the first time since he took charge in June 2019.

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New Delhi: Mother-son MP duo Maneka Gandhi and Varun Gandhi were dropped from the BJP national executive Thursday as party president J.P. Nadda reconstituted the top decision-making body.

This is the first time Nadda has reconstituted the 80-member national executive since he took charge as the BJP national president in June 2019. Other prominent exclusions include Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy, and old-generation leaders like Vinay Katiyar, C.P. Thakur, Vijay Goel, Suresh Prabhu, and Arti Mehra. 

Ram Madhav, former BJP general secretary who returned to the RSS this March, has been excluded as well.

Varun has been vocal about the Lakhimpur Kheri incident, where a Union minister’s convoy allegedly ran over protesting farmers last Sunday.

Over the past month, Varun has written four letters to the Yogi Adityanath government on the farmers’ issue. Following the Lakhimpur Kheri incident Sunday evening, he demanded the arrest of those who ran over the farmers. The latest of these tweets came Thursday.

His mother Maneka Gandhi was dropped from the Union Cabinet when the Modi government returned to office in 2019.

“Varun’s repeated questioning of the leadership for accountability did not go down well with the party. His and his mother’s relationship with the BJP high command has soured over the last few years and it was the reason he was not even inducted in the Cabinet despite his successive victory and crowd-pulling ability,” said a BJP leader. 

Besides including 50 special invitees in the national executive, BJP margdarshak mandal (guidance council) members Lal Krishna Advani, 93, and Murli Manohar Joshi, 87, have found place in the list. 

Other octogenarians in the panel are Bijoya Chakraborty, a leader from Assam who was a minister in the Vajpayee Cabinet and Metro Man E. Sreedharan, who joined the BJP in his home state Kerala earlier this year.

Also Read: Brazen-it-out style doesn’t work when farmers are run over. PM Modi’s silence is insensitive

Prominent inclusions & exclusions

The national executive includes BJP office bearers, morcha presidents, spokespersons, former chief ministers, deputy chief ministers, chief whips in Parliament, legislature party leaders, state presidents, state organisational general secretaries, state prabharis (in-charge), and sah-prabharis

Prominent Cabinet ministers are part of the panel too, as are new state/UT leaders like former Chhattisgarh ministers Ajay Chandrakar and Lata Usendi, Sirsa (Haryana) MP Sunita Duggal, Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra, Puducherry minister A. Namassivayam, Tripura West MP Pratima Bhoumik, Union minister Ajay Bhatt, former CM Vijay Bahuguna, and state minister Satpal Maharaj from Uttarakhand, actor Mithun Chakraborty, former Union minister Dinesh Trivedi, Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta, and Anirban Ganguly from West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Brajesh Pathak, besides former state BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai. 

Altogether, 42 members in the list are from Uttar Pradesh, where assembly election is due early next year.

Prominent exclusions include Vinay Katiyar, a leader of the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation, former Union minister C.P. Thakur, V.K. Malhotra, former deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, and former Union ministers Vijay Goel, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav, Birender Singh, who is believed to be disgruntled with the BJP high command over the farmers’ issue, and Suresh Prabhu. 

Former Delhi mayor Arti Mehra, seen as close to Advani, RSS ideologue Mahesh Chandra Sharma, former MPs Satya Pal Jain and Anita Arya, are not in the panel either. 

All of them were part of former BJP president Amit Shah’s national executive.  

‘Young blood’

A BJP vice-president told ThePrint that in the new executive, those members who are “not active and at an old age” have been removed to get a new leadership, and geographical representation has been kept in mind, from Goa to Manipur and Tripura. 

“Since the party has a system of promoting young blood, many new state leaders have been given space in the list,” he said. 

The last meeting of the BJP national executive was held more than two years ago in January 2019. 

The BJP constitution calls for a meeting of the national executive to be held every three months. 

This was strictly followed during the Vajpayee-Advani regime. During their time, the meetings were held in poll-bound states to discuss a range of contemporary issues. However, after Shah took over (2014-2019), the meetings were mostly organised in Delhi to fulfil the constitutional provision about the three-month interval, except on one or two occasions.

The next meeting is planned to take place in Delhi, likely in the first week of November.

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

Also Read: Modi skips Lakhimpur in 35-min Lucknow speech, opposition labels it ‘insensitive, anti-farmer’


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