Amit Shah set to take over as BJP chief after budget

  • Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 08, 2014 00:22 IST

Amit Shah, the 48-year-old ace organiser who won Uttar Pradesh for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha polls, is expected to be named party president this week.

Party sources said that a BJP parliamentary board meeting may be called for mid-week, when current president Rajnath Singh, who has become union home minister, will step down from his party post.

Formalities for Shah's elevation are likely to be completed at this meeting and an announcement could follow soon after.

"Shah will formally take over as the new BJP chief before Monday," a senior BJP leader told HT, hinting at July 11 or July 12 as possible dates.

A close confidante of Modi, Shah served as minister of state for home under him in Gujarat, at one point controlling 10 portfolios. Then he was sent to UP to bolster the party's chances, with spectacular results: The BJP-led alliance won an unprecedented 73 seats out of 80.

Indeed, the case for Shah was so compelling that party seniors decided to ignore a convention that PM and party president should not be from the same state.

A couple of key appointments will accompany the Shah ascension. Consolidating the hold of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) on the party, RSS executive member Ram Madhav and western UP "kshetra pracharak" Shiv Prakash will join the senior BJP team. The two RSS men's exact roles will be defined by Shah.

It is understood that Sangh has already taken Shah into confidence over beefing up its strength in the ruling party. Many of the BJP top leaders like Atal Behari Vajpayee, Advani and Modi have deep roots in the RSS.

The appointments come at a time when Modi has been worried about a lack of political energy within the party after the thumping Lok Sabha 2014 win. The new president will have the task of steering the party in key forthcoming assembly polls in Delhi, Haryana and Maharashtra.

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