A New Era Begins In BJP, Courtesy Amit Shah

Shah has elevated the party veterans ‘“ Lal Krishna Advani, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Murali Manohar Joshi ‘“ to the post of ‘˜Margdarshak’ (Mentor) and has included new faces…

The Bhartiya Janata Party is witnessing the inevitable generational shift under the new leadership of Amit Shah.

He has done what many thought of starting but did not dare to do it.

Shah has elevated the party veterans – Lal Krishna Advani, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Murali Manohar Joshi – to the post of ‘Margdarshak’ (Mentor) and has included new faces in the party’s parliamentary board and central election committee (CEC).

The Margdarshak Mandal, as the newly created panel will be called, will be a five-member panel which will have Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and the three veterans on it. Although, the role of the panel is not yet clear, there is no denying the fact that it was an easy way to keep the veterans in the party with their dignity intact. This also becomes clear with another fact which, according to various party leaders, says that the panel would essentially have advisory status, with no decision-making powers.

It should be noted that the trio had occupied the top rung of its leadership since the formation of the party in 1980.

The new entrants in the party’s parliamentary board are three-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and party general secretary J.P. Nadda. Shah will be the chairman of the all-powerful body. Others on the 12-member Board are prime minister Narendra Modi; his Cabinet colleagues Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar and Thawar Chand Gehlot and Ramlal.

Chouhan and Nadda are also new entrants in the party’s CEC. Shah will chair the CEC as well. The other members on the CEC panel are PM Modi, Singh, Jaitley, Swaraj, Naidu, Gadkari, Kumar, Gehlot, Ramlal, with addition of Jual Oram, Shahnawaz Hussain and Mahila BJP chief Vijaya Rahatkar (ex-officio).

Interestingly, party leader from Uttar Pradesh Vinay Katiyar has been excluded from the panel. The panel strength has been pruned from 18 to 15.

One cannot help but agree with what Shah has done. Vajpayee has not been well since the party lost elections in 2004. It has been a decade since somebody saw Vajpayee actively taking part in anything. He is only in news when the party members decide to pay him a visit.

Joshi has been quite vocal in his opposition to the Modi government. He had staged a bitter drama against Modi when he refused to run Lok Sabha elections from any place else but Varanasi. Perhaps it was the unfateful exclusion of Jaswant Singh from the party that brought him back to his senses and he fought election from Kanpur leaving the seat for Modi.

Similar was the condition of Advani. The party had failed bitterly in 2004 and 2009 elections under his leadership. The ascendance of Modi was hurting his ego and his dreams. He tried quite hard to divide the party where Sushma joined his clubs and others kept in and out of it.

Advani famously skipped the Goa national executive last year when Modi was declared chief of the party’s central election committee. Few months later, he quit from all party posts when Modi was declared prime ministerial candidate of the party by Rajnath Singh alone. He was coaxed by both the leaders to remain in the party for better. But he was still not satisfied. More drama unfolded when Lok Sabha elections were at the door and he refused to run from his constituency Gandhinagar.

However, he won the seat again.

The transition may be called a Modi-eclipse on the party by his critics, but the time has come when new blood works for the benefit of the party and its central government.

Afterall, BJP is no Congress!

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