Nitin Gadkari was on Tuesday formally elected unopposed as the ninth president of the BJP, six weeks after he took over the reigns from Rajnath Singh as the acting president. Gadkari, who turns 53 in three months, is the youngest president of the 30-year old party.
As elected president, Gadkari is now entitled to announce his new team.
But he will appoint his team of office-bearers only after the party's national council meeting in Indore on February 18 and 19, which will ratify his election.
Though Gadkari was chosen by the party's ideological fount, the RSS, to lead the party for the next three years, the BJP had to complete elections in 19 state units to meet the criteria of its rules that its organisational polls must be completed in half of the states.
Elections in 19 states were completed, but nominations came from only 13 states. Papers from key states including his home state of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, however, could not be filed as their units are yet to complete internal polls.
Gadkari said BJP would work as a responsible “constructive and development-oriented” opposition. He would also strive for increasing the party's vote share by at least 10 per cent and turn BJP into a “party with a difference” before the next polls.
Senior party leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh and M. Venkaiah Naidu, were among those present when Gadkari's election was formally announced.