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Amit Shah drops Varun from team

New Delhi, Aug 16 (PTI): Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Saturday dropped Varun Gandhi as general secretary from his new team, inducting former Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa as Vice-President and new Sangh point man Ram Madhav as general secretary.

Shah’s announcement came just a week after he was formally appointed as party president.

The new team has 11 vice-presidents, eight general secretaries and 14 secretaries, apart from 10 spokespersons, of whom five are new.

Varun, great grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, represents Sultanpur in Parliament, and his mother Maneka Gandhi is a minister in the Modi government.

Shah has retained general secretaries J.P. Nadda, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Murlidhar Rao and Ramlal. They will continue to take care of the organisation affairs.

Party sources said that Varun has not been included because his mother has been included in the Modi Cabinet as Minister of State with independent charge.

The four new general secretaries are Ram Madhav, the Rashtirya Swayamsevak Sangh man who was sent to the party recently, outgoing BJP Mahila Morcha chief Saroj Pandey, Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan Bhupendra Yadav and Ram Shankar Katheriya.

Yeddyurappa, who had formed his own outfit after being forced to quit as chief minister following corruption charges but had rejoined on poll eve, is among the 11 vice-presidents in Shah's new team. Former Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has been retained as vice-president.

The other vice-presidents are Bandaru Dattatreya and Satyapal Malik, both Lok Sabha members, Purushottam Rupala and Prabhat Jha, former state unit presidents, Raghuvar Das, a former deputy chief minister of Jharkhand, Kiran Maheshwari (a former MP from Rajasthan), Vinay Sahasrabuddhe (one of the BJP's think-tank), Renu Devi (from Bihar) and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma.

The team has a mix of party workers from across the country but has major representation from poll-bound states of Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand. The team also includes five OBCs, six women and has representation from scheduled castes and tribes as well. In Shah’s new team, 80 per cent are below the age of 60.

Shrikant Sharma, who heads the media unit of the party, is one of the new secretaries.

Siddharth Nath Singh, who was in charge of West Bengal where the party registered some success in the Lok Sabha polls, has been retained as Secretary.

Former union minister Pramod Mahajan's daughter Poonam Mahajan has also been made a Secretary.

Other party Secretaries are Shyam Jaju, Anil Jain, H. Raja, Ramesh Deka, Sudha Yadav, Ram Shekar Netam, Arun Singh, R.P. Singh, Jyoti Dhruve, Tarun Chugh and Rajneesh Kumar.

The new team has retained Anurag Thakur as the youth wing chief and appointed former Aurangabad Mayor Vijaya Rahatkar as the new Mahila Morcha chief.


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