Nadda named BJP working prez, Shah remains at helm

J P Nadda being greeted by BJP chief and Home Minister Amit Shah. PTI

Former Union minister J P Nadda was on Monday appointed as the BJP national working president, a move that sets off the process of a big revamp in the party in the coming months.

Amit Shah will remain BJP chief till the party’s organisational elections are over by year-end, which coincides with Assembly polls in four states.

Nadda’s appointment brings an end to speculations over Shah’s successor after the latter became the home minister.

Nadda’s appointment was announced by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh after a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board. Congratulating Nadda on his new responsibility, Rajnath — himself a former BJP chief — also mentioned that the BJP has won several elections under Shah's leadership.

Amit Shah has completed two terms as party chief — one full term and another when he stepped in for Rajnath Singh who had joined the Modi cabinet.

Shah was elected party chief again in January 2016 and his term came to an end in January this year, which was extended to allow the party to go to Lok Sabha polls under his leadership. Shah would have been given another full term if he wasn't appointed the home minister. Any BJP chief can have a maximum of two full terms as per the party constitution.

Earlier, the party had indicated that Shah — who has to relinquish the party chief post after becoming home minister, honouring the one-man-one-post principle — will continue to oversee party affairs till the conclusion of organisational polls which also coincide with Assembly polls in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Haryana and likely in Jammu and Kashmir.

At the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting too, members wanted Shah to continue as president, but he was not keen to play a dual role.

The appointment of Nadda, who will formally take over on Tuesday, will have to be ratified at a meeting of BJP's national council within six months.

There were clear indications that thwe party was drafting Nadda for a bigger role in the organisation when, despite a sound performance of the Health Ministry under him, he was not inducted in Modi 2.0. The 58-year-old Nadda, a Brahmin face from the BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh who maintains a low profile, is a trusted lieutenant of the RSS and has spent quite a long time in the ABVP.

Born and educated in Bihar, Nadda, a law graduate, had also participated in the JP movement and worked for Chhatra Sangarsh Samiti.

A three-term MLA and a one-term Rajya Sabha MP, Nadda was earlier in contention for the BJP chief’s post in the first tenure of Modi government. Shah was then named party chief. 

Just like Amit Shah was given the charge of party affairs in 2014, Nadda was given the charge of Uttar Pradesh in 2019 Lok Sabha polls in which the BJP won 62 of 80 seats on its own, despite the three-party much-touted Opposition alliance of SP, BSP and RLD. Nadda is touted as an organisation man and is a member of BJP Parliamentary Board.

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