New Delhi: BJP MPs Varun Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi were dropped from the BJP National Executive list which was announced on Thursday. The move comes hours after Varun Gandhi condemned the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri and called for justice for those who were killed in the incident on October 3.
In a strong statement, the BJP leader supported the farmers saying they “cannot be silenced through murder” as he posted a purported video of the incident.
“The video is crystal clear. Protestors cannot be silenced through murder. There has to be accountability for the innocent blood of farmers that has been spilled and justice must be delivered before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer,” he said on Twitter.
This was not the first time that Varun Gandhi had voiced his support for the protesting farmers. He had also backed their demands during last month’s Kisan Mahapanchayat in Muzaffarnagar.
On Thursday, BJP president J P Nadda announced the 80-member National Executive of the party, which comprises the party’s top leaders, who meet to discuss key issues facing the government and shapes the organisation’s agenda.
The likes of Varun Gandhi and Birender Singh, who have taken a sympathetic stand on the farmers’ protest against three agri laws, and Maneka Gandhi were among those replaced with a new crop of leaders.
Union ministers Rao Inderjit Singh and Prahlad Patel, MP Subramanian Swamy, known for his strong views on a host of issues, Suresh Prabhu, Dushyant Singh, who is the son of former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, Vijay Goel, Vinay Katiyar and S S Ahluwalia are among those who have not found a berth in the new list.
Union ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia, who left the Congress to join the BJP, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Delhi MP Ramesh Vidhuri are the new names on the list where senior leaders like Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan and Nirmala Sitharaman have kept their position.
Union minister Smriti Irani has made a comeback to the key party body in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, many Union ministers, including heavyweights like Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, and veterans like L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, both of whom being also former party chiefs, are the expected presence.
With party president J P Nadda finally naming the members of the national executive after taking over in January 2020, it is set to hold its first physical meeting on November 7 in the national capital, sources said. The BJP national office-bearers will hold a physical meeting in the headquarters on October 18.
The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented the national executive meeting for a long time.
Every new party president appoints a fresh team of national executive whose members were selected last time in 2015 by Nadda’s predecessor Amit Shah.
The decision to drop Varun Gandhi, Rao Inderjit Singh, Swamy and Birender Singh is seen as an indication of the party leadership’s unhappiness with them over their views on a number of issues.
Haryana leaders Rao Inderjit Singh and Birender Singh have not been enjoying the best of relations with the BJP establishment in their state. In a recent rally, Rao Inderjit Singh’s remarks were seen as a dig at some of his party colleagues.
Among other names, Harsh Vardhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar, who were recently dropped as Union ministers, have retained their place.
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri has also been included in the executive while three Delhi MPs, Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi and Manoj Tiwari, besides Bidhuri, have made it to the committee as well.
Union minister V K Singh is no longer a regular member and has been named as a special invitee to the body.
Six leaders from West Bengal, including actor Mithun Chakraborty, Dinesh Trivedi and Swapan Dasgupta, have made it to the key organisational body of the party with as many of them being made special invitees.
Besides 80 regular members, the executive will also have 50 special invitees and 179 permanent invitees, which include chief ministers, former CMs, deputy CMs, former deputy CMs, national office-bearers and other key party members from states.
The executive is a key deliberative body of the party which meets to discuss important national issues and shapes the organisation’s agenda.
The party’s constitution make it mandatory to drop a chunk of existing executive members to make way for new faces.
Among the 80 members, a maximum of 12 are from Uttar Pradesh, excluding Modi who is an MP from there but hails from Gujarat, with states like West Bengal and Telangana which have been seeing concerted expansion efforts by the party also getting sizeable representation.
(With PTI inputs)