The old order gave way to the new in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday when veteran leaders L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Atal Behari Vajpayee were dropped from the party's parliamentary board.

The relegation of party seniors to the margins was a formal confirmation that the generational shift in the party is now complete. The party’s transformation bears the imprint of  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is clearly the first among equals in the BJP hierarchy.

In May, when he was forming his cabinet, Modi refused to include Advani and Joshi  on the grounds that nobody above 75 years would be given a ministerial berth. He then installed his confidant Amit Shah as BJP president, ensuring his complete control over the government and the party.

After being sidelined in the government, the two senior leaders along with the ailing Vajpayee on Tuesday were denied a seat on the BJP’s Parliamentary Board, the party’s highest decision-making body. They have been replaced with second-generation leaders like Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chouhan and JP Nadda.

Amit Shah has instead included Advani, Joshi and Vajpayee in a newly constituted body called the Marg Darshak Mandal. The BJP president sought to soften the blow by including Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh on this panel too. BJP spokespersons said the seniors will play the role of mentors. In other words, they will have no real decision-making powers.

Old case reopened

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s inclusion in the parliamentary board is also a warning to the party’s high-profile Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje that she is out of favour.

Raje has been sulking since the Modi government took charge because her son Dushyant was not given a ministerial berth. In fact, when the old sexual assault case against Union minister Nihal Chand Meghwal from Rajasthan was reopened shortly after the swearing-in in May, the BJP leadership suspected that Raje was responsible for leaking this information to the opposition. She fell from grace when she refused Modi’s offer to shift to the Centre.

Chouhan’s elevation is ironic. He is known to be close to Advani and it was the senior leader who had made a strong case for Chouhan's inclusion in the Parliamentary Board last year when Modi was inducted into it. Today, Chouhan has got a seat on the high table but Advani has been cast aside.

The new 12-member Parliamentary Board  has the following members: Amit Shah, Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Anant Kumar, Thawarchand Gehlot, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, JP Nadda and Ramlal.