Advani, Joshi axed from BJP board

Advani, Joshi axed from BJP board

Party's first-gen leaders will now be 'mentors'

Advani, Joshi axed from BJP board

The BJP’s first-generation troika of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi have been declared “mentors”, with party president Amit Shah dropping them from the parliamentary board, the highest decision-making body, and the central election committee. 

The party veterans have been accommodated in a separate “Margdarshak Mandal”, or guiding committee, to provide vision and direction to the organisation.

Shah inducted Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the senior-most among the five BJP chief ministers, and general secretary J P Nadda into the parliamentary board as well as the poll panel to replace Advani and Joshi.

Deccan Herald was the first to report on August 22 that Shah was likely to drop the veterans from the board and accommodate them in a new panel. Interestingly, when Prime Minister and then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was inducted into the board last year by former party president Rajnath Singh, the veterans had made a botched effort for Chouhan’s initiation into the panel to checkmate Modi’s phenomenal rise.

But party sources said Modi has now recognised Chouhan’s contribution by elevating him to the national scene.

To cushion possible criticism that Shah and Modi together relegated veterans to ceremonial positions, the prime minister brought himself and Singh into the five-member Margdarshak Mandal to give it a sense of meaning.

BJP sources said Modi informed Joshi and asked Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu to apprise Advani about the party’s decision. Vajpayee, however, is indisposed.

Senior spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said the Margdarshak Mandal would not take the veterans away from effective decision-making role in the party. “They will show the way,” he said, adding that otherwise Modi and Singh would not have been part of the group.

The 12-member parliamentary board, headed by Shah, includes Modi, Singh, Naidu, Chouhan, Nadda, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Ramlal.