Varun Gandhi dropped from Amit Shah's team

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 17 2014, 01:17am hrs
Anointed formally a week ago, BJP President, Amit Shah today constituted his new team dropping Varun Gandhi and inducting former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and new RSS face Ram Madhav.

A mix of youth and experience, the new team includes 11 Vice Presidents, eight General Secretaries and 14 Secretaries, besides 10 party Spokespersons, five of them new.

A significant part of today's exercise was the dropping of Varun Gandhi, Lok Sabha member from Sultanpur. This comes days after his mother and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi pitched for his projection as the party's Chief Ministerial candidate in Uttar Pradesh.

Sources said the decision was conveyed to Varun a few days ago with a hint that he would be free to campaign in Uttar Pradesh, where the party is hoping to form its own government in the next assembly elections due in May 2017.

Also he has not included in the new team because his mother is already part of the Modi Cabinet, sources said.

Shah has retained General Secretaries J P Nadda, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Murlidhar Rao. Ramlal will continue as General Secretary (Organisation).

The four new General Secretaries are Ram Madhav, the RSS face who was sent to the party recently, outgoing BJP Mahila Morcha chief Saroj Pandey, Lok Sabha MP from Agra Ram Shankar Katheriya and Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan Bhupendra Yadav.

Yeddyurappa, who returned to the party just before the Lok Sabha polls after he was earlier forced to quit as chief minister following corruption charges, is among the 11 Vice Presidents in Shah's new team. Former Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has been retained as Vice President.

"The new team reflects a mix of youth vigour and experience, with representation to regions and social classes," said party Spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi.

He said the new team will act as a bridge between the Narendra Modi dispensation and the people as it will focus on conveying the message of the work done by the government.

The other Vice Presidents are Bandaru Dattatreya and Satyapal Malik, both Lok Sabha members, Purushottam Rupala and Prabhat Jha, former state unit presidents and Raghuvar Das, a former deputy chief minister of Jharkhand.

Former Lok Sabha member from Udaipur in Rajasthan Kiran Maheshwari, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe (one of the BJP's think-tank), Renu Devi (OBC leader and former Bihar Minister) and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma.

The team has a mix of party workers from across the country, including representation from poll-bound states of Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand. The team also includes five OBCs, six women and has representation from SCs and STs as well. 80 per cent of Shah's team are below the age of 60.

V Satish, Saudan Singh, Shiv Prakash and B L Santosh will be the new Joint Secretaries (Organisation).

Shah's new team has 14 secretaries. Shrikant Sharma, who heads the media unit of the party, is one of the new Secretaries.

Siddharth Nath Singh, who was co-incharge of West Bengal with Varun Gandhi, where the party registered some success in the Lok Sabha polls and increased its vote bank, has been retained as Secretary.

Former union minister Pramod Mahajan's daughter Poonam Mahajan has also been made a Secretary.

Other party Secretaries are Shyam Jaju, Anil Jain, H Raja, Ramen Deka, Sudha Yadav, Ram Shekar Netam, Arun Singh, R P Singh, Jyoti Dhruve, Tarun Chugh and Rajneesh Kumar.

The new team has retained Anurag Thakur as the Youth Wing chief and appointed former Aurangabad Mayor Vijaya Rahatkar as the new Mahila Morcha chief. Thakur has been the Youth Wing chief under previous Presidents Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari.

The five spokespersons who have been retained in Amit Shah's team are M J Akbar, Shahnawaz Hussain, Sudhanshu Trivedi, Meenakshi Lekhi and Vijay Sonkar Shastri.

The new spokespersons are Nalin Kohli, Sambit Patra, Anil Baluni, G V L Narasimha Rao and Lalita Kumaramangalam.

Former Union Minister Faggan Singh Kulaste is the new BJP ST Morcha president, while Dushyant Kumar Gautam will continue to be the party's SC Morcha chief Abdul Rasheed Ansari will continue as Minority Morcha chief.

Arun Jain will continue to be the party's office secretary in the new team.