BJP drops Smriti from national executive

Several senior leaders left out in reshuffle

BJP drops Smriti from national executive

Ahead of its key organisational conclave in Bengaluru, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani failed to retain her place in the reconstituted 111-member BJP national executive announced by party chief Amit Shah on Thursday. 

This is perhaps for the first time that the actor-turned-politician will not be part of the national executive since joining the party way back in 2003.

She has held crucial party posts earlier, including heading its women’s wing and the post of vice-president, before being elevated as the youngest Cabinet minister in the Narendra Modi government.

The BJP leaders were flummoxed to explain Smriti’s surprise absence from the party platform. A leader guessed that by axing her, Shah and Modi might be sending a message to others that no one is indispensable or something else could be in store for her.

Shah is expected to announce his team of office bearers soon. Other missing prominent women leaders are: Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah, Hema Malini and Shaina N C. Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is the new entrant.

A reason, BJP sources said, for dropping Heptuallah is that she might be moved out of the government since she will soon turn 75 – the age bar Modi had fixed for giving Cabinet berths to NDA leaders.

Actor and Mathura MP Hema Malini missed the bus as several leaders from Uttar Pradesh have been drafted into the national executive.

While Shah has opted for only 8 women in the rejigged national executive, his predecessor Rajnath Singh, who is now home minister, had accommodated 26 of them in the 80-member key body.

Singh, in his first stint as the BJP president in 2006, had formed the national executive on the basis of the Sushma Swaraj-headed panel which recommended 33 per cent reservation for women in different organisational set ups.

Shah, however, has retained senior leaders and ministers, including Modi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Singh, Sushma, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu, as members.

Ministers V K Singh, Rao Inderjeet Singh and Subramanian Swamy are among the freshers in the members category.

Popular playback singer and Minister of State for Urban Development Babul Supriyo has been made a special invitee owing to Assembly elections in his home state of West Bengal in a year’s time.

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