Amit Shah tipped for BJP top post

Poornima Joshi New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Poised to lead BJP leader Amit Shah in a file photo

Looming Assembly polls, Munde’s death create urgent need for a strong party chief

Amit Shah has emerged as the last man standing in the process of eliminating choices for the post of BJP president.

After incumbent Rajnath Singh moved to the Union Cabinet as Home Minister, discussions in BJP/RSS circles have centred on the suitability of different candidates for the job. Shah was always in the reckoning but there is a view, especially in the RSS, that the two top posts in the government should not be occupied by two men from the same State.

Hence, the names of the more low-profile party general secretary JP Nadda and another probable, BJP’s Rajasthan unit chief Om Mathur, were doing the rounds for a while.

But as discussions reach a critical stage with an announcement expected ahead of the Budget session of Parliament that begins on July 7, Shah’s case seems to be the strongest.

With the Maharashtra, Haryana and Delhi Assembly elections fast approaching, the scales weigh in Shah’s favour because of his performance and delivery in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

He was the BJP general secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh, where the party won an unprecedented 71 seats with two more seats for NDA ally Apna Dal.

Merit matters

“There is a school of thought against having two men from Gujarat calling the shots both in the party and the government. But in the end, merit is the only consideration.

Amit Shah has a proven track record and the party needs to sustain the momentum of victory,” said a source.

Besides, there is a feeling in the BJP that the party should not be neglected after the victory in the same manner it was when the NDA was in power last time.

When Atal Behari Vajpayee was Prime Minister, most of the BJP’s talented leaders moved to the Cabinet and the party was weakened.

But with the party infused with a fresh hope of revival in regions it has been hitherto weak — in the north-eastern, southern and eastern States — a strong leader is needed at the helm of affairs.

Additionally, with the untimely demise of Gopinath Munde, the BJP needs careful handling in Maharashtra, where polls are due later this year. Hence, a need is being felt for a party president who has enough drive to energise the organisation and expand it in new areas. Shah is being considered for the post for this reason besides his proximity with PM Narendra Modi.

Although the BJP constitution prescribes a procedure for the election of the party president, it is not always strictly followed.

Consultations between the RSS and the BJP usually result in a consensus over a candidate who is then formally elected and endorsed by the national council.

Accordingly, due consultations have taken place and the majority opinion is tilted in favour of Shah.

Published on June 24, 2014

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