Muslim representation in the new Bharatiya Janata Party team of office-bearers has been confined to the more decorative category of vice-presidents where old-timer Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and the more recent Congress-to-BJP convert Najma Heptullah find slots. But, the only Muslim MP to be elected on BJP ticket, Shahnawaz Hussain, has been given a position of one of six spokespersons, not general secretary as might have been expected.
Three other new spokespersons are Ramnath Kovind, Tarun Vijay (former editor of RSS magazine Panchjanya) and a young woman Nirmala Sitharaman, a JNU product.
The Ram temple and backward class face Vinay Katiyar has been moved upwards from general secretary to the relatively less important vice-president category.
Varun Gandhi, who earned notoriety for his hate-speech in the Lok Sabha campaign, has had to be content with the position of secretary – one among 15. Incidentally, Mr. Gandhi had rejected the offer of this post in the Rajnath Singh team since his eyes were reportedly set on the general secretary's position on par with the post enjoyed by his cousin Rahul Gandhi in the Congress. He was persuaded to climb down.
Hema Malini as vice-president and Smriti Irani of ‘saas-bahu' television serial fame as secretary lend some glamour to the team while the former women's wing president Kiran Maheshwari, the former Delhi mayor Arti Mehra and young face Vani Tripathi are among the list of secretaries that also includes the former Minister Santosh Gangwar, Murlidhar Rao (formerly of Swadeshi Jagran Manch inducted into the BJP during Rajnath Singh's tenure) and Mumbai man Kirit Somaiya.