Jagat Prasad Nadda took over as the new Bharatiya Janata Party president at the party headquarters in Delhi. Senior party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, LK Advani, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union minister Nitin Gadkari, were present at the felicitation event.
Nadda was elected unopposed as the BJP's national president on Monday, taking over the reins from Amit Shah whose tenure of five-and-a-half years saw the party turning into a formidable election-winning machinery despite occasional setbacks.
While Modi exuded confidence that BJP will scale new heights under Nadda's leadership, Shah congratulated Nadda on rising through the ranks, saying that BJP was the only party which does not function on casteism, or nepotism.
Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Senior leaders LK Advani, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and others at felicitation programme of BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda. pic.twitter.com/SwnszbDEne
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
The prime minister also praised Nadda and said, "Nadda ji is a dedicated and disciplined karyakarta (worker) who has worked for years to strengthen the party at the grassroots. His affable nature is also known to all. I am confident that under his leadership, party will go ahead by abiding its basic principles and ideologies. We will have to face more challenges than what we faced as a political party in the Opposition."
The prime minister also hit out at the Opposition parties, accusing them of spreading misinformation about the party and its leaders."There are people who dislike the principles which guide us," he said and added, "Those rejected by public in elections are left with very few weapons, one of them is spreading 'misinformation'."
PM: There are people who dislike the principles which guide us.Our problems aren't because we're doing something wrong,it's because people of this country are blessing us. Those rejected by public in elections are left with very few weapons, one of them is-spread 'misinformation' pic.twitter.com/AUvImE1yrm
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
Without naming his rivals, Modi also targeted the "echo system" backing them, and said it has always been against the BJP. Asserting that despite attempts by the Opposition to spread confusion and lies, people's faith in the BJP and his government have remained "unshaken", he said the party returned to power with a bigger mandate in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls despite its rivals fighting with their full strength.
Modi also praised former party president Shah for his contribution, describing him as an "outstanding karyakarta". Shah congratulated Nadda, who he said had started his career and risen through the ranks to be elected unopposed as the party president.
Before the event began, Shah was joined by senior party leaders, including Rajnath and Gadkari, besides several functionaries from state units in filing nominations in support of Nadda. BJP chief ministers like Yogi Adityanath of Uttar Pradesh and Vijay Rupani of Gujarat were also at the party headquarters to endorse his bid.
Delhi Elections next big challenge for Nadda
Nadda's elevation was on expected lines since his appointment as the BJP working president last June after Shah joined the Modi government as the home minister. The BJP has traditionally abided by the norm of 'one party one post'. BJP leaders hailed the appointment, expressing confidence that the party would achieve new successes under his leadership.
Nadda, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, started out as a student worker of the ABVP. He went out to several important positions ranging from organisational posts at the district, state and national level; to ministerial positions at the state and central level. Nadda was appointed as the working president of the BJP in June 2019, after he led the party to victory in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections .
The 59-year-old leader is seen as an affable and low-key politician who enjoys the trust of Modi and the RSS — the BJP's ideological mentor. He is largely expected to continue with the course it took under Shah with Modi laying out the broader agenda.
He takes over at a time when the BJP is witnessing vigorous challenge from a united opposition in assembly elections amid signs that it needs to rejig its electoral strategy following a string of losses in state polls. If a relatively inexperienced Shah in 2014 was seen as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's handpicked man to shake up the saffron organisation by easing out veterans and infusing young blood to galvanise party cadres and fuel its expansion drive, Nadda is considered a seasoned hand who will build on these gains without causing too many disruptions.
His immediate challenge is the February 8 Delhi Assembly polls where the BJP is locked in a tough fight with Aam Aadmy Party, followed by year-end elections in Bihar.
The change in guard comes weeks ahead of the Assembly elections in Delhi, where the party is looking to oust the Aam Aadmi Party. The Delhi Assembly election is the first challenge for Nadda, who has been touring the capital extensively. BJP leader Radha Mohan Singh, who was the incharge of the organisational election process, made the announcement of Nadda's election as the party's 11th president after he emerged as the only nominee in the fray.
Under Nadda, BJP will scale new heights: Amit Shah
Shah, from whom Nadda took over the reigns, praised BJP for being the only party which promotes workers on the basis of "sheer quality and love for motherland". "The BJP stands apart in India because it does not function on casteism or nepotism. If you look at other parties, every party is family-based and is promoting their own people," the Home minister said.
Shah said that he was confident of Nadda's leadership. "Nadda ji has become our national president. We are ready to take the BJP to new heights under his leadership." "There are a few states where we are yet to attain electoral success and reach every booth. I call upon every worker to be ready to work under the leadership of the prime minister and Nadda and achieve more," Shah further added.
Nadda thanked Modi and his party colleagues for handing him the responsibility of leading "the world's biggest party". "I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for believing in me and also thank the state units for electing me unopposed," he said.
"A worker like me coming from a village and becoming the national president is the specialty of the BJP," said Nadda.
Newly elected BJP President #JPNadda : A simple worker like me, who didn't have a political background, who hails from a remote place in Himachal Pradesh - if someone like me is being given this responsibility then it is the speciality of BJP and it is possible only in BJP. pic.twitter.com/wV5VO78Xen
— ANI (@ANI) January 20, 2020
"Today, we are the world's largest party that is in power in India. We have the highest number of MPs and MLAs in the country. But we are not going to stop at this. There are some states left and we will make sure we reach to them as well," he said.
Nadda was elected unopposed as the BJP's national president on Monday, taking over the reins from Shah whose tenure of five-and-a-half years saw the party turning into a formidable election-winning machinery despite occasional setbacks.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 22, 2020 08:21:10 IST