New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) In a move marking the end of the era of stalwarts like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, the BJP Tuesday came up with a list of its highest decision-making body, the parliamentary board, which excluded the seniors.
The move marked the culmination of the generational shift that began in the Bharatiya Janata Party when Narendra Modi was made the prime ministerial candidate.
The BJP instead included the seniors in a separate group, the ‘Margdarshak Mandal’ (guiding committee), which it said will guide the party.
The parliamentary board will now be headed by BJP president Amit Shah, and marked the entry of J.P. Nadda and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the core group.
The guiding group includes Vajpayee, Advani and Joshi as well as Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Modi and Rajnath Singh are also in the parliamentary board.
“Party president Amit Shah has constituted a ‘margdarshak’ committee with veteran party leaders as its members for guiding party activities,” an official release said.
Congress leader Rashid Alvi dismissed it as an “old age home” for leaders.
“It is a mookdarshak mandal (committee of silent watchers). It is like an old age home from where Advani and Joshi will witness the functioning of BJP like mutes. We were all aware that they are being sidelined,” he told reporters.
Congress leader Manish Tewari said it was “centralisation of power”.
“Very soon, only two leaders from Gujarat will be there. The exit of Advani and Joshi is the first step, it will soon be a two-member party,” Tewari said.
BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, however, said the guiding committee was not a permanent committee. “It’s a temporary committee,” he said.
The constitution of the BJP does not have any provision for such a group and the parliamentary board remains the highest decision-making body, party sources said.
The sources said Joshi was informed about the decision by Modi himself, while Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu informed Advani.
The other members of the 12-member parliamentary board are Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Ramlal.
The central election committee of the party was also announced Tuesday.
It has Shah as its chief, and includes Modi, Rajnath Singh, Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Naidu, Gadkari, Chouhan and Shahnawaz Hussain.
Talking to reporters in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Chouhan, however, stressed that Advani “remains the guiding light for the whole party”.