Ram Madhav, Uma Bharti dropped in BJP rejig

With several BJP leaders making way for fresh faces in the new list of the party’s national office-bearers announced on Saturday, sources cited a number of reasons, from poor performance to speaking out of turn, need for political balancing and even chances of new responsibility, as likely causes for their departure.

  Former Union minister Uma Bharti, Ram Madhav and P Muralidhar Rao are among the key faces who have not found a place in the list of office-bearers under party president J P Nadda.

Bharti was a vice president while the two other leaders were general secretaries.

Madhav was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP, when he was brought into the party and minded its political affairs in key regions like Jammu and Kashmir, and the North East.

The sources said the RSS may have a “different” role in mind for its ‘pracharak’ whose high profile and proclivity to speak to the media on a variety of topics, including those not seen to fall in his domain, may not have gone down well with a section of the party.

However, Madhav’s strong defense of the Modi government and the party’s policies in the media and other forums, including think tanks, are seen as his strength.

“I will not like to speculate on what our leaders may have in their mind about those who have been dropped. But they have a way to surprise people. So one should not see the development from a single perspective,” a BJP leader said.

Once a fiery Hindutva orator, Bharti, who was a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet in his first term, has generally maintained a low political profile for a long time.

Her departure is not being seen as a surprise.

Rao like Madhav was earlier associated with the RSS, and it remains to be seen if the Hindutva organisation assigns him some other responsibility.

In a tweet, Madhav said, “Congratulations to the newly appointed office-bearers of the BJP. Grateful to the party leadership for providing me the opportunity to serve for one term as Gen Sec.”

Rao also tweeted his best wishes to the new team.

The BJP leadership has from time to time shown its displeasure with outspoken leaders, especially when their comments are seen to be not in line with the party’s ideological positions or to be outright embarrassment.

This may have cost some people their positions, the sources said.

H Raja may have been dropped as secretary for his wont to make provocative comments, a source said.

The party has shown its preference for those who maintain a low key and work hard on the ground to stated objectives, the sources said.

The rise of Tejasvi Surya, only 29 years of age, in the BJP underscores the party leadership’s support to those who articulately champion the saffron agenda without making too many false steps.

Surya has been made president of the party’s youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.  Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Prabhat Jha and Shyam Jaju are among those dropped as party vice presidents while Anil Jain and Saroj Pandey have been replaced with new faces as general secretary.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is no longer a vice president as well, but this was on expected lines as he was offered the position when he was not heading the state government.

Amid possibility of a Union Cabinet reshuffle, probably after results of Bihar assembly polls and other bypolls are announced later this year, the sources said chances of some of these leaders, whose name no longer figure in the list of office-bearers, finding a place in the government should not be ruled out.