National

Rajnath may continue to head BJP for a while

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on June 05, 2014

Amit Shah has the strongest claim with his spectacular performance in Uttar Pradesh as election in-charge besides his proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

JP Nadda is an easy and non-controversial choice — the quiet, low profileleader from Himachal Pradesh has risen from the rungs and will not ruffle too many feathers.





Indecision over the choice of Rajnath Singh’s successor as BJP President is likely to result in the Home Minister continuing in the post for a while.

Ideally, Rajnath cannot continue to hold two offices in accordance with the “one-man-one-post” principle followed by the BJP. But there have been exceptions to the rule, especially in the case of party patriarch LK Advani, who was Leader of Opposition as well as BJP President in 1989-90. In 1998, when Advani became Home Minister in the NDA government, he continued to hold charge as BJP president for almost a year before Kushabhau Thakre took over.

Rajnath still has over a year-and-a-half left of his tenure as BJP president. Although several names, including that of former Rajasthan BJP unit president Om Mathur, are doing the rounds, the only two serious contenders for the post are BJP general secretaries JP Nadda and the all-powerful Amit Shah.

Shah has the strongest claim with his spectacular performance in Uttar Pradesh as election in-charge besides his proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, this in itself is reportedly causing the pragmatic RSS to pause and reflect on this particular choice.

Having a Prime Minister as well as a party president from Gujarat can result in dissensions within the ranks at a later stage.

The upside is both leaders have shown a capacity to run the party and produce results even if it leaves some heartburn in various factions.

Pros and cons

While there are pros and cons of having Shah take over the party as president, Nadda is an easy and non-controversial choice for all sides. This quiet, low profile leader from Himachal Pradesh has risen from the rungs and will not ruffle too many feathers.

At the same time, he can work in tandem with Shah without creating an alternative power centre in the party, an apprehension that is a natural accompaniment of Rajnath’s continuation as party president.

All these nuances are part of the ongoing discussions about who is to be the next BJP president. The BJP constitution prescribes a procedure for the election of the party president. However, this is not strictly followed. Consultations between the RSS and the BJP usually result in a consensus over a certain candidate who is then formally elected and endorsed by the national council.

Till that happens, there are as many as nine vacancies in the party with a number of office-bearers getting elevated to the Union Cabinet.

Vice-presidents Jual Oram, Uma Bharti, Smriti Irani, general secretaries Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot and Dharmendra Pradhan, party treasurer Piyush Goyal and spokespersons Prakash Javdekar and Nirmala Sitharaman have been moved to the Cabinet.

But all these vacancies will be filled only after a new president has been elected.

Published on June 05, 2014
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