Jharkhand’s Raghubar Das, Annapurna Devi appointed BJP national vice president

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Sameer Oraon made national president ST cell  

New Delhi/Ranchi, Sep 26: The BJP on Saturday came out with the long-awaited list of its national office-bearers as the party effected a major reshuffle in key organisational positions, giving the team a more pan-India look and bringing in new faces. Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Koderma MP Annapurna Devi, West Bengal’s Mukul Roy, Bihar’s Radha Mohan Singh among 12 were appointed national vice president of BJP.  Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand Sameer Oraon has been appointed national president of BJP Schedule Tribe Morcha.

The highlights of the new list are replacement of several general secretaries, including Ram Madhav, P Muralidhar Rao and Anil Jain, with new faces; appointment of Tejasvi Surya, an articulate and fiery advocate of the Hindutva plank, as the party”s youth wing president; and giving place to West Bengal leader Mukul Roy, and Vinod Tawade and Pankaja Munde of Maharashtra in the team.

In the names of office-bearers announced by party president J P Nadda, Roy has been made a vice president, and the two Maharashtra leaders secretaries. There had been reports that all three of them were miffed with their respective state leadership.

Roy has been a key member of the party’s political strategy in West Bengal, which goes to the assembly polls next year.

Surya replaces Poonam Mahajan.

Uma Bharti has been dropped as vice president along with Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prabhat Jha, Om Prakash Mathur and Shyam Jaju among others, while Saroj Pandey has been dropped as general secretary.

Some of them may have failed to find a place for reasons like their wont to make comments which have repeatedly irked the leadership and non-performance, sources said.

However, they added that the party may have other role in mind for a few of them and referred to the chances of a Union Cabinet reshuffle, which may happen in some time.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the new team of office-bearers and expressed confidence that they will uphold the “glorious tradition” of the party of serving the people of India selflessly and with dedication.

“Congratulations and best wishes to the new team. I am confident they will uphold the glorious tradition of our party of serving the people of India selflessly and with dedication. May they work hard to empower the poor and marginalised,” he tweeted.

There are five new general secretaries among the total eight: Dalit leader Dushyant Kumar Gautam, D Purandareshwari of Andhra Pradesh, C T Ravi of Karnataka, Tarun Chugh of Punjab, a state where the BJP”s ties with ally Akali Dal have nosedived over farm bills, and Dilip Saikia from Assam.

Bhupender Yadav, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Arun Singh have retained their position as general secretaries, who occupy a critical position in the organisation as they are often put in charge of states and serve as a link between the regional and central leaderships.

Among the new vice presidents are Bihar, which is headed to the assembly polls, leader Radhan Mohan Singh, former Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das.

Sources said the BJP leadership has chosen to go with leaders who are fit for their role and are seen to be reflective of the party’s ideology.

“It”s a balanced team with representation from across the country, including Manipur and Nagaland. The average age of office-bearers is lower than what it was and educational background has also played a role as we tried to the team representative,” a senior party leader said.

One big state whose representation is missing from the list of 70 office-bearers is Tamil Nadu.

Another highlight of the list is a high representation of MPs; 24 of whom have found a place.

Sources said those who have been dropped should not be naturally judged negatively, adding that any new list of office bearers is bound to have a high proportion of fresh faces, something the party leadership has constantly pushed for.

The party has also increased the number of its national spokespersons to 23, while elevating MP Anil Baluni as the chief spokesperson and keeping him as its national media head. The new spokespersons include former minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Rajiv Chandrashekhar, Tom Vadakkan, Aparajita Sarangi and young Dalit leader Guru Prakash.

Amit Malviya remains in charge of the party’s IT wing.

The new list of spokespersons is more representative of social, caste, regional and religious diversity, a source noted.

However, the party has not filled vacancies in its parliamentary board, its highest decision-making body. Some vacancies in other positions also remain.

The number of women in the national office bearers list has risen to 13 from eight earlier.

The BJP also named Rajesh Agarwal as its new treasurer and brought in new faces as heads of its different morchas, with K Laxman, Rajkumar Chahar, Lal Singh Arya, Samir Oraon and Jamal Siddiqui made president of OBC, SC, ST and minority morcha respectively.

It has, however, not announced the head of its women’s wing.

It is customary for a new party president to announce a new list of office bearers. Nadda had taken over in January but the outbreak of COVID-19 had delayed the process.

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