Thu. May 23rd, 2024

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rejigged its team of central office-bearers on Saturday, bringing Congress turncoat Anil Antony and former AMU vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor, also a Pasmanda Muslim into national leadership roles. The move comes months ahead of Lok Sabha Election in 2024.

In his new team, BJP Chief JP Nadda has also accommodated the party’s former Telangana unit chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar as a national general secretary.

The party has, meanwhile, retained most of the office-bearers as vice presidents, general secretaries, and secretaries in the new list. There are 13 vice presidents, nine general secretaries, including B L Santhosh as the in-charge of the organization, and 13 secretaries on the list.

Radha Mohan Agrawal, a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, is one of the two new faces on the list which have nine general secretaries, seven of whom retain their position.

Former Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) vice-chancellor Mansoor, now a BJP MLC in Uttar Pradesh, has been made a vice-president, a decision seen to be part of the party’s overtures to Pasmanda Muslims.

Anil Antony, son of veteran Congress leader A K Antony, has been brought in as a national secretary. Apart from him, the party also elevated Surendra Singh Nagar and Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Rajya Sabha MP from UP and Assam.

Nagar is an influential Gurjar leader from western UP while Tasa has long been the face of tea tribes in the northeastern state.

Former Uttar Pradesh BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP Laxmikant Bajpai is one of the two new vice presidents. Former chief ministers Raman Singh, Vasundhara Raje, and Raghubar Das are among the seasoned leaders retained as vice presidents in the new list.

Arun Singh, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Dushyant Kumar Gautam, Tarun Chugh, Sunil Bansal, and Vinod Tawde also continue as general secretaries.

Meanwhile, the party has dropped CT Ravi, a leader from Karnataka, and Dilip Saikia, a Lok Sabha MP from Assam, as its general secretaries.

Ravi’s omission from the list of general secretaries, who spearhead the party’s policies and agenda nationally and state-wise, unlike the vice presidents who are mostly figureheads, is being seen by some as a fallout of the BJP’s big defeat in the recent assembly polls in Karnataka. The four-term MLA had lost his seat in a close fight in the recently held assembly polls in Karnataka.

However, a party leader said not much should be read into the dropping of several office-bearers, as many of them, including Ravi, may contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and will be focussing on their likely constituencies.

Former Union minister Radha Mohan Singh, a Lok Sabha MP from Bihar, has also been dropped as a party vice-president. BJP also dropped Dilip Ghosh as Vice President, and Vinod Sonkar, Harish Dwivedi, both Lok Sabha MPs from Uttar Pradesh, and Sunil Deodhar as secretaries.

Nadda’s tenure as BJP president was extended in January this year to allow him to be at the helm during the next Lok Sabha polls.

(With PTI inputs)

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