Varun Gandhi, mother Maneka Gandhi missing from BJP’s list of National Executive members; Advani, Joshi included

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Updated: October 07, 2021 2:08 PM

Varun Gandhi has been vocal about the Centre's policies and has even criticised the government over the farm laws and the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

Recently, Varun Gandhi has been vocal about the Centre's policies and has even criticised the government over the farm laws and the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

BJP MP Varun Gandhi and his mother and senior party leader Maneka Gandhi have been kept out of the 80-member BJP’s National Executive, announced by party chief JP Nadda on Thursday. Recently, Varun Gandhi has been vocal about the Centre’s policies and has even criticised the government over the farm laws and the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. On Thursday, he tweeted a video of the incident from violence-hit UP district, demanding action against the accused.

After the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Narendra Modi government kept the mother-son duo out of the Cabinet. However, Maneka, an eight-time Lok Sabha MP, who won from Sultanpur, was named pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha back then.

Being the Women and Child Development minister during the first stint of the Modi government, Maneka Gandhi frequently locked horns with the party brass on issues such as triple talaq, female genital mutilation (FGM) and animal rights.

The list includes names of its top brass, ranging from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to many Union ministers, several state leaders and veterans like L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.

Besides 80 regular members, the executive will also have 50 special invitees and 179 permanent invitees.

The executive is a key deliberative body of the party which meets to discuss key issues facing the government and shapes the organisation’s agenda. The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented its meeting for a long time.

Recently, The Indian Express quoted a section of BJP leaders saying that blamed the current party leadership for the delay. They said pandemic restrictions have been given as an “excuse” for deferring the meeting.

This assumes significance as it comes in the context of the Opposition accusing the BJP’s central leadership of “centralisation” of powers – a handful of leaders taking decisions without wider consultation – and that it does not allow the regional leaders to emerge with a strong image.

Many Union ministers, including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, are expectedly on the list with recently inducted minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also being included. Former Union ministers like Harsh Vardhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar also remain the members of the national executive.

The last time the ruling party called a full-fledged national executive conclave was more than two years ago – in January 2019. There is no word yet on the next such meet.

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