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Posted at: Jun 17, 2019, 7:41 PM; last updated: Jun 17, 2019, 10:37 PM (IST)

JP Nadda is BJP's new working president

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 17
 
Bharatiya Janata Party has elected Himachal strongman JP Nadda working president of the party—ending months of speculations over who could follow current national president Amit Shah to the highest seat within the party.
 
Nadda, the former health minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's previous Cabinet, was made working president of the party at the BJP's Parliamentary Board meeting on Monday. Parliamentary Board is the BJP’s highest decision-making body.
 
Shah, whose term as BJP president ended earlier this year but was given an extension because of general elections, will continue until his successor is elected in organisational elections. 
 
Shah is now home minister in Narendra Modi's new Cabinet.
 
Veteran party leader Rajnath Singh, the defence minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s current Cabinet who has been a BJP president himself, made the announcement saying Shah had taken the party to newer heights in his tenure.
 
In tweets that followed the announcement, Singh said Shah felt the need to hand over “responsibility of the party to someone else” after he was made home minister.
 
His tweets read: “The @BJP4India has won several elections under the leadership of party president Shri @AmitShah.
After the Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi appointed him the Home Minister, Amitji himself had said that the responsibility of party president should be given to someone else”. 
 
“BJP Parliamentary board met today and it has selected Shri @JPNadda as the working president. He will remain the working president till the BJP’s membership drive& org. elections are over. Congratulations & best wishes to Naddaji for shouldering this new responsibility.” 
 
There's a good chance that Nadda will eventually replace Shah as the party’s president after orgainsational elections are done. 
 
Party sources claim there could be several factors behind the decision to appoint a working president—among them the party’s one-man-one-post policy and Shah’s new responsibilities as home minister.    
 
“The post of the Union Home Minister is an important one, and with so much happening across the country, especially sensitive parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Shah is under constant scrutiny. Besides the post of the BJP president is a full-time job and now there are plans to expand it down South and take it further in Bengal. Therefore a working president is the middle path,” party sources say.
 
Shah has been among the BJP’s most successful presidents, given his knack of turning the BJP into a well-oiled election machinery to spin out victories after victories in the country. To follow him to the party’s highest seat would be a tall task, even for Nadda, who has been working closely with him for these past five years.  
 
Sources say another reason for the decision could be how important Shah is to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially with regard to the latter’s ambitious plan for his second term that could lay groundwork for 2024 general elections.  
 
Also on the BJP’s sights are crucial assembly elections—specifically, Haryana and Maharashtra this year, and later Delhi and then Bihar in 2020. 
 
Meanwhile, the BJP aims to strengthen its grassroots units, and has planned a recruitment drive over the next two months to increase party strength by 20 per cent. 

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