Smriti Irani, actor-turned politician of the 'saas-bahu' TV serial fame, was on Tuesday appointed as head of Bharatiya Janata Party's Women's Wing while Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's son and Member of Parliament Anurag Thakur will head the Youth Wing of the main opposition.
BJP President Nitin Gadkari also announced a new 20-member Central Election Committee, a five-member Disciplinary Committee and heads of Minority, Kisan, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Morchas of the party.
34-year-old Irani, who has been a star campaigner of the party, had contested against Congress leader Kapil Sibal from the Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency in 2004 and lost.
Said to be an eager and enthusiastic party worker, Irani has piped the likes of actor-politician Kiron Kher and Durg MP Saroj Pande, among others to the post of Mahila Morcha head.
Anurag Thakur, 35, a former Ranji player and head of Himachal Cricket Association, was in the race for Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha since Gadkari took over as president. He has won over the likes of Varun Gandhi and Vivek Thakur (deputy Chief of the outgoing BJYM), among others, to the coveted post.
Gadkari has retained the earlier Central Election Committee and added several new members to give it "more regional and social representation".
All party general secretaries, except Ravi Shankar Prasad, have been accommodated in the CEC. Ailing former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is also a part of the team.
CEC members include Gadkari, Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Bal Apte, Ananth Kumar (secretary, CEC), Thawar Chand Gehlot and Ram Lal.
The new CEC members are Kalraj Mishra, Vasundhara Raje, Gopinath Munde, Arjun Munda, Vijay Goel, Narendra Singh Tomar, Dharmendra Pradhan and Shahnawaz Hussain.
As head of the Mahila Morcha, Irani will be an ex-officio ember of the CEC.
The names of various Morchas were also announced on Tuesday. Dushyant Gautam, a former general secretary of the Scheduled Caste Morcha, will now head the body.
Scheduled Tribe Morcha of the BJP will be headed by Faggan Singh Kulaste, who was in the news as one of the three whistle-blowers in the cash-for-votes scam in 2008.
Tanvir Ahmad will be chief of BJP Minority Morcha while Om Prakash Dhankad will head the Kisan Morcha. Dhankad was a general secretary of the Kisan Morcha earlier and hails from Haryana.
A Disciplinary Committee, to be headed by O P Kohli, former chief of BJP's Delhi state unit, has also been formed. Its other members are Balramdas Tandon, Kesari Nath Tripathi (former Speaker of Uttar Pradesh assembly), O Rajgopal (Kerala) and Mridula Sinha (Bihar).
Gadkari, who took over as BJP president on December 19 last, took nearly six months to finalise these names.
Image: BJP leader Smriti Irani