The BJP on Sunday set in motion its preparation for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls by appointing Home Minister Rajnath Singh as the head of the all-important manifesto committee. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will head the publicity department and will be assisted by Rajyavarthan Rathore, Piyush Goyal, Anil Jain, and Mahesh Sharma.
BJP president Amit Shah announced the formation of 17 committees and their members to prepare the party for the electoral challenge.
The choice of Rajnath to head the manifesto committee has obviously been taken with a view to sending “right” message to the Uttar Pradesh electorate and underlines the key role the former UP Chief Minister could play in the party affairs in the coming days. Over the years, Rajnath has cultivated a pro-farmer image and the BJP would hope to encash it at a time when there is a great deal of unrest in the agriculture sector.
Apart from Jaitley, Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, UP Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya, his Bihar counterpart Sushil Modi, party general secretaries Bhupender Yadav and Ram Madhav, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Narayan Rane, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda are among the other members of the manifesto committee. Yadav will be a key member of the committee which will deal with matters related to the Election Commission.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will head a panel which will reach out to social organisations while his Cabinet colleague Sushma Swaraj will head a group that will produce literature for the polls. Sushma will be assisted by Parbhat Jha, Mahesh Sharma, Anurag Thakur, Amit Malviya, and Sudhandshu Trivedi.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will look after the media while Shyam Jaju will be incharge of social media. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar will lead the wing which will organise meetings of intellectuals.
He will be aided by Meenakshi Lekhi, Sambit Patra, and Murlidhar Rao.
Interestingly, Shah has also formed a three-member “Bike Rally Committee” featuring Sanjiv Chaurasia, Pradeep Singh Baghela and Saurabh Chaudhary. A committee for “Mann ki baat” will be headed by Arun Singh.
Jaitley’s choice as head of the publicity department is reaffirmation of the fact that the Finance Minister is one the most media friendly leader in the BJP.
Party’s all national spokespersons, which include its media head Anil Baluni and his deputy Sanjay Mayukh, will be part of its media committee.
In the run up to the elections, Shah has made a host of appointments, including of incharges and their associates for different States, to spearhead the party’s campaign.