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JP Nadda, Bhupendra Yadav frontrunners for next BJP president post

Jagat Prakash Nadda, health minister in the previous Narendra Modi government, and Bhupendra Yadav, a Rajya Sabha MP, are among the front runners to replace Shah.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2019 07:28 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
cabinet,modi 2.0,narendra modi
BJP president Amit Shah’s promotion to home minister means the party will have to find a suitable replacement(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah’s promotion to home minister means the party will have to find a suitable replacement, leading to speculation about his successor and the timing of his appointment.

Jagat Prakash Nadda, health minister in the previous Narendra Modi government, and Bhupendra Yadav, a Rajya Sabha MP, are among the front runners to replace Shah.

Shah took over from Rajnath Singh in July 2014, two months after Modi was sworn in prime minister and he appointed Singh as home minister. But there is a difference between then and now.

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Any BJP president has a tenure of three years. Singh had taken over as BJP president from Nitin Gadkari in 2013, and had over a year-and-a-half of his term left when he resigned from the party post in 2014.

“Such a situation didn’t need any election and Shah was chosen to lead the party for the remaining term,” a senior BJP leader said, asking not to be named. “The national council of the BJP ratified his election and he assumed charge.”

Shah completed Rajnath’s remaining term and got re-elected as BJP president in January 2016. His term ended in January 2019, but the party decided to give him an extension till the elections get over.

“Once the term of a president is over, it is followed by a membership drive and organisational election from the mandal to the national level,” a second BJP leader said, not wishing to be named. “The election of the national president happens only when elections in at least 50% of the states are over.”

The party will have to start its membership drive again, and it will take at least 2-3 months. The organisational election at the mandal, district and state levels will take another couple of months, the second leader said.

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“Given that, Shah continuing for a while, till this process is over, may not be ruled out,” the first leader said.

The BJP’s immediate challenge is the elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and possibly Jammu and Kashmir, which is under the Centre’s rule. “The party may need a full-time president to take care of these elections,” the second leader said.

A third BJP leader said the party was free to make an arrangement wherein Shah can continue as president but a successor is formally given charge, maybe as a working president, to help in the transition.

“Whatever it is, it will take a couple of weeks to work out such an arrangement,” he said on condition of anonymity.

First Published: Jun 01, 2019 07:28 IST