New BJP Chief Nitin Gadkari is planning to induct several fresh faces which is expected to bring forth a younger leadership in the party.
A clear indication to this effect has been given by senior leader L. K. Advani, whom Gadkari refers to as his guide and philosopher, during the recent National Council at Indore when he said the new President belongs to the third generation of the party and his team is likely to be even younger.
The buzzword at Indore was teamwork, cohesion, discipline and performance, which have all been lacking in the right-wing party for the past few months.
The decision to usher in a young team will also counter the Rahul Gandhi effect which has reportedly led to the new generation finding Congress more attractive than BJP. However, there may be some hiccups before Mr. Gadkari gets his new team in place.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who has been offered the post of national general secretary, has reportedly expressed her displeasure and argued that she wants to stay in her state as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.
“She told the leadership that after losing the last assembly elections in December 2008, she does not want to run away to the Centre as that may affect her credibility and hold over the state.
“She feels in Delhi she will just be one of the several senior leaders,” a senior leader said.
Her emissaries held a meeting with Mr. Gadkari’s team in Indore during the three-day conclave (from which she kept away citing some flimsy excuses) to get across her point of view.
BJP Central leadership will have to take a call on the issue at the earliest as the Assembly session begins in Rajasthan and Raje’s resignation from post of Leader of Opposition has still not been submitted to the Speaker.
Moreover, Mr. Gadkari is set to announce his team by February-end.
The number of women in Mr. Gadkari’s team will also be higher than any of his predecessors as BJP has amended its constitution to increase the number of officer-bearers after giving 33 per cent reservation to women in party cadre posts.
Shoba Karandlaje, close associate of Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa and a former minister in his cabinet who had to quit under pressure from Reddy brothers, is likely to hold the post of a general secretary or a secretary.
Varun Gandhi is also likely to figure in the new team though he is not likely to get a key post due to his controversial anti-minority image and the party’s new pitch to woo the Muslims.
Other names to be included in Mr. Gadkari’s team include Shahnawaz Hussain, Manohar Parikkar, B. C. Khanduri, Arjun Munda, Kiran Maheshwari, Navjot Singh Siddhu and Amit Thakker.
Young MP and son of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Anurag Thakur is likely to become the new head of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).