The BJP on Monday announced that senior leader JP Nadda has been appointed as the party's working president.
The decision was taken at the BJP parliamentary board meeting, held at the party headquarters in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, among others. Shah will continue to serve as the party's national president.
Delhi: Senior BJP leaders present bouquets to JP Nadda at the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting being held at the BJP headquarters. pic.twitter.com/sgvmAx2tym
— ANI (@ANI) June 17, 2019
After the meeting, Rajnath made the announcement of Nadda's appointment. "BJP won several elections under leadership of Shah. But since the prime minister appointed him as home minister, Shah himself said the responsibility of party president should be given to someone else. BJP parliamentary board has selected JP Nadda as working president," he said.
The Parliamentary Board of the BJP has unanimously decided that Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda will be the Working President of the party till internal organisational elections are duly conducted: Shri @rajnathsingh pic.twitter.com/wQp1Zf9CZG — BJP Odisha (@BJP4Odisha) June 17, 2019
This is for the first time party has appointed a working president.
Sources told PTI that the board requested Shah to continue till the party's membership drive and organisational elections were completed, but he pointed out that he would be engaged in other matters because of him being the Union home minister.
Shah's tenure as the party chief ends in December 2019 and he may not get an extension as the party has principal of 'one man, one post', sources were quoted as saying by PTI.
Nadda, a leader from Himachal Pradesh, is known for his 'clean' reputation and had served as the health minister during Modi's first tenure as the prime minister.
He started his political career as a student leader and was elected as the secretary of the Patna University in the 1977 student elections.
A few years later, he returned to his native state Himachal Pradesh to pursue higher studies and joined a law course in the Himachal Pradesh University.
Under his leadership, the ABVP, which is the student wing of the RSS, defeated the Students Federation of India (SFI) in the university for the first time in 1984. He went on to become the students' union president.
Later, Nadda also became ABVP national general-secretary from 1986 to 1989, and was appointed the president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha's (BJYM), the BJP's youth wing, in 1991.
Nadda, a low-profile leader, was also in contention for party's top post in 2014, but the BJP's splendid performance in Uttar Pradesh in the general elections that year resulted in Shah becoming the party chief.
He was given responsibility of Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in which the BJP bagged 62 out of the 80 seats in the politically-critical state.
After Shah became a part of the Modi Cabinet following BJP's victory in Lok Sabha election in May, speculations were rife about Nadda taking over as the party chief as he was left out of the Union Council of Ministers.
The decision to appoint Nadda came days after the BJP at a meeting of its national office-bearers decided to carry out a membership drive to increase its members by 20 percent followed by the party's organisational polls.
The party will start the drive from 6 July, the birth anniversary of its founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
The entire exercise may take several months to be concluded, which means that the party may fight Assembly elections in three states —Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra — later in 2019 under Shah and Nadda.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jun 17, 2019 23:39:45 IST