His aide Amit Shah, an accused in Sohrabuddin encounter case, is one of 10 general secretaries
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s return to the BJP Parliamentary Board, the highest decision-making organ of the party, and the appointment of Mr. Modi’s confidant and former State Home Minister Amit Shah as one of the ten party general secretaries were the highlights of a reconstituted party leadership announced by BJP president Ranjath Singh on Sunday.
Mr. Singh, who had dropped the Gujarat Chief Minister from the Parliamentary Board during his first stint as party president, was left with little option but to accommodate Mr. Modi on the Board, as he could ill-afford to ignore the clamour from sections of the party to project Mr. Modi as the party’s face in the 2014 general elections.
Within the constraints of pulls and pushes from various lobbies within the party, Mr. Singh has tried to keep all the influential players happy.
According to sources in the party, Mr. Modi could be entrusted with the task of electoral management as the party gets into the 2014 Lok Sabha poll mode.
However, it is to be seen how some of the BJP allies, such as the JD(U), look at Mr. Modi’s greater role on the national stage.
The growing clout of Mr. Modi within the party was evident during the party’s recent National Council and National Executive meeting where workers raised slogans in favour of the Gujarat Chief Minister as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate in the presence of the top brass. At the meeting, Mr. Modi did not attempt to restrain the workers loudly advertising his ambitions for a greater national role.
The fact that Mr. Singh has been constrained to name Amit Shah as the party general secretary reflects Mr. Modi grip over the party. Mr. Shah is facing charges of murder, kidnapping and extortion in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation has questioned Shah in connection with the murder case of Tulsiram Prajapati, a key witness in Sheikh’s ‘encounter’, and only a few months ago he was allowed by the Supreme Court to return to Gujarat.
Mr. Rajnath’s new team has 12 vice-presidents, 10 general secretaries, 15 secretaries and seven spokespersons, besides a 12-member Central Parliamentary Board, a 19-member Central Election Committee and a five-member Central Disciplinary Committee.
Among the new faces in Mr. Rajnath’s team are the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti and Rajya Sabha member Smriti Irani, named as vice-presidents. Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi has also been elevated to the position of general secretary.