The first meeting of the BJP’s national executive under Amit Shah’s leadership is a first on many counts.

The meeting is scheduled to commence on Friday with Shah’s address to the delegates. Being held after a span of over a year, it is the first meeting in complete violation of the party’s constitution that dictates that the national executive should meet every third month.

It also violates the party’s constitution that holds that the national executive should have numbers that do not exceed 120 and “at least 40 of them should be women”.

The BJP’s 111-member national executive (not including the permanent and special invitees) has just eight women members.

It is the first meeting where the party will not include an economic resolution separately. It is also the first time in recent times that a public rally, which used to mark the culmination of the BJP’s national executive, is going to be held on the first day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing the rally on Friday evening.

And lastly, it is the first meeting in which LK Advani is unlikely to address the delegates even though he is attending the session.

In the 35 years since the BJP’s inception, there has only been one other time — June 2013 — when Advani skipped the meeting and did not address the delegates as a mark of protest against Modi’s anointment as the party’s campaign committee chairman, which was a precursor to his projection as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

Otherwise, Advani’s address to the delegates has been a routine affair in every meeting of the BJP’s national executive. But this time round, the party veteran has been completely sidelined along with Murli Manohar Joshi, another member of the euphemistically named Margdarshak Mandal.

It has been reported that when BJP General Secretary (Organisation) Ram Lal went to consult Advani on the thrust of his remarks to the national executive, the veteran leader seemed reluctant to speak at the meeting.

Advani has been extremely upset with the BJP’s handling of various issues, especially the alliance with the People’s Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir.

Joshi too used to be very vocal in these events, especially giving inputs and remarks on the party’s economic resolution.

This time, there is no economic resolution and very little likelihood of Joshi being given a chance to articulate his opinions on the state of India’s economy.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to make precise comments on the state of the economy.

Concluding remarks

The stars of the show are clearly party president Shah and Prime Minister Modi, who arrived at the meeting venue on Thursday and spoke to the BJP office-bearers.

Apart from addressing a public rally on Friday, he is expected to give concluding remarks on Saturday — a ceremony thus far associated with Advani.

The BJP president too addressed national office-bearers on Thursday and the national executive meeting will commence with his address on Friday.

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