Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari constituted a 20-member central election committee here on Tuesday.

While all the 12 members of the Parliamentary Board, including chairman Nitin Gadkari and secretary Ananth Kumar, are members of the election committee, eight names have been added to it. The committee is empowered to finalise all candidates for the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls throughout the country.

The constitution of the committee was imperative with the Assembly polls in Bihar just a few months away.

The lone member from Bihar is Shahnawaz Husain, the only Muslim BJP member of the Lok Sabha; Vasundhara Raje has been inducted from Rajasthan, Vijay Goel (Delhi), Gopinath Munde (Maharashtra) Arjun Munda (Jharkhand), Dharmendra Pradhan (Orissa), Kalraj Mishra (Uttar Pradesh) and Narendra Singh Tomar (Madhya Pradesh).

The senior leaders, members of the Parliamentary Board, who are on the election committee are: Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Venkaiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Bal Apte, Ananth Kumar, Thawarchand Gehlot and Ramlal. Mr. Kumar, secretary of the Parliamentary Board, will also be the secretary of poll panel.

Disciplinary panel

A five-member disciplinary committee has been set up with Om Prakash Kohli as chairman and Balramdas Tandon, Kesrinath Tripathi, C. Rajagopal and Mridula Sinha as members.

Television actor Smriti Irani has been selected to head the party's women's wing, the Mahila Morcha, while the youth brigade will be led by Anurag Thakur, son of Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

Tanveer Ahmed will chair the minorities' morcha, Dushyant Gautam the Scheduled Castes morcha and Faggan Singh Kulaste the Scheduled Tribes wing.

Surprise nomination

Mr. Kulaste was a surprise nomination as he was involved in the Local Area Development Scheme scandal, in which MPs were caught on camera asking for commission on works to be done in their constituencies. He also figured prominently in the cash-for-votes scandal that rocked the 14th Lok Sabha.

Keywords: BJPBihar pollsKulasteGadkari

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