Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has been inducted into the BJP parliamentary body, the highest decision making body of the party - he returns after a gap of six years although he is already a member of the Central Election Committee. Modi is now set for a leading role at the national level.
Narendra Modi is the only chief minister to be appointed at at this level in BJP.
Narendra Modi, for all intents and purposes will now occupy a position that is next to that of A B Vajpayee and L K Advani. Since Vajpayee has retired and Advani has been sidelined that makes Narendra Modi effectively the number one in BJP going into General Elections 2014.
Narendra Modi's close aide, Amit Shah, who was jailed for his alleged role in Sohrabuddin fake encounter killing case, but who is now out on bail after being incarcerated for three months, has also been elevated as general secretary, which is a strong indication of Narendra Modi's growing clout within the party headquarters.
Ahead of the announcement by BJP, Rajnath Singh met L K Advani to iron out any last minute objections that the veteran may have had.
Action still awaited from BJP, sooner rather than later, is the likely appointment of Narendra Modi as party's 2014 General Election campaign committee head.
BJP has already got the blessing of its ideological mentor, the RSS for these changes. And this ratification by RSS is reflected in BJP appointing Varun Gandhi as a party general secretary. Varun Gandhi was recently exonerated by court for hate speeches against minorities in the Lok Sabha elections.
Smriti Irani, perceived to be close to Modi, who has been named as BJP's Vice President - Irani will now be replaced by Saroj Pandey to head BJP's women wing.
Former finance minister, Yashwant Sinha's tirade against re-appointment of Nitin Gadkari as BJP president cost him plenty as the party has refused to elevate him to any higher profile.
The twelve-member BJP parliamentary board is the party's highest decision making body which will thrash out strategy for 2014 polls. In fact, without actually saying so, the BJP may well have cleared Narendra Modi's candidature as the party's Prime Ministerial pick.
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh, stalwarts in their own right have not received any such backing for a top role in the 2014 polls. However, another high profile maverick leader, Uma Bharti has been made party vice president - she was expelled from the party but has made a successful comeback to the top echelons of the BJP.
Former union minister Rajiv Pratab Rudy has been appointed general secretary of the party.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda has been given the post of Vice President.
BJP's Vinay Katyar, who was one of the figures behind the Ram temple movement and allegedly had a hand in the destruction of Babri Masjid, has been invited in the BJP poll panel.
The appointment of Varun Gandhi, Uma Bharti and Amit Shah sent a strong a signal that BJP is looking to breathe new life into its Hindutva agenda as was desired by the RSS after having had to push it onto the back-burner due to coalition politics during Vajpayee's term as PM and thereafter to ensure NDA allies like JD(U) don't exit the alliance.
Those who failed to find favour with BJP's top brass includes Vasundhara Raje, Hema Malini, Najma Heptulla and Shanta Kumar - all have been dropped.
BJP has beefed-up its spokespersons' team by adding Vijay Sonkar Shashtri, Sudhanshu Trivedi, Meenakshi Lekhi and Capt. Abhimanyu to the current members including Prakash Jawdekar, Shahanawaj Hussain and Nirmala Sitharaman.
However, Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is BJP's Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha, has been dropped as the Chief Spokesperson of the party.
Poonam Mahajan, daughter of late party leader Pramod Mahajan, has found a place in Singh's team and has been made a Secretary, while Punjab's former Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla is also a new inclusion and has been given the post of Vice President.
S S Ahluwalia, who was earlier BJP's Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha, will be a Vice President.
The new BJP team, which has adequate representation of women, includes tribal face Jual Urao as Vice President and Luise Marandi from Jharkhand as Secretary.
The 12-member Central Parliamentary Board headed by Singh has top party leaders Atal Behari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Ram Lal in it, besides Modi who was inducted today.
All these top leaders along with Gopinath Munde, Jual Oran, Shahnawaz Hussain, Vinay Katiyar, J P Nadda and Dr Harshwardhan are part of the party's Central Election Committee. Mahila Morcha chief Saroj Pandey is the ex-officio member of this committee.
The new Vice Presidents also include Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, C P Thakur, Balbir Punj, Satpal Malik, Prabhat Jha, Bijyo Chakravarti and Kiran Maheshwari, while the other General Secretaries are Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot, J P Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan, Tapir Gao, Murlidhar Rao and Ram Lal, who will continue as Organising Secretary of the party.
V Satish and Soudan Singh will be the new Joint General Secretaries (Organisation), while Shyam Jaju, Bhupendra Yadav, Krishan Das, Anil Jain, Vinod Pandey, Trivendra Rawat, Rameshwar Chaurasiya, Aaarti Mehra, Renu Kushwaha, Sudha
Yadav, Sudha Malaiya, Tamil Isai and Vani Tripathi are Secretaries.
Sanjay Paswan has been made President of the BJP SC Morcha and Faggan Singh Kulaste President of the ST Morcha, Abdul Rashid will head the Minority Morcha and Om Prakash Dhankar will head the party's Kisan Morcha.
Rajya Sabha MP Piyush Goyal has been retained as Treasurer and O P Kohli as Headquarter Incharge, while former MP Ramkripal Sinha will be Office Secretary of Parliamentary Party and Shanmuknathan as Joint Office Secretary of the Parliamentary Party.
The party's Central Disciplinary Committee has Radha Mohan Singh as President, Jagdish Mukhi as Secretary and L Ganesahn, Hari Babu and Shyam Nandan Singh as its members.
The new team unveiled by Rajnath Singh includes 12 vice presidents, 10 general secretaries, 15 secretaries apart from a twelve member central parliamentary board and a 19 member Central Election Committee.
(with inputs from PTI)