India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday night appointed former federal Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda as its Working President, a post created for the first time in the party. Nadda’s appointment as Working President will take effect even Home Minister Amit Shah continues as party President.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who made the announcement about Nadda’s appointment through a twitter post, said the decision was taken by the BJP parliamentary board, the highest decision-making forum, after Shah expressed a desire to step aside as it would not be possible to do justice to both the roles.
For now, however, Shah remains the party chief but the workload will be shared with Nadda.
"Since PM appointed him Home Minister, Amit ShahJi himself said the responsibility of party president should be given to someone else," Rajnath Singh tweeted, setting at rest weeks of speculation on whether Shah, who was given charge of the Home Ministry, will retain both the posts. Modi hailed Nadda’s appointment as BJP Working President tweeting the latter “is a diligent Karyakarta (worker) of the Party, who has risen through the ranks due to his hard work and organisational skills. Humble and affable, he is widely respected across the BJP family. Congratulations to him on becoming the Working President of the Party.”
Nadda, 58, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, enjoys the confidence of the BJP’s ideological fountainhead the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and has a clean image. After considerable confabulations within the party, it was decided that Amit Shah, who is credited with crafting the BJP campaigns that saw the party twice win majority on its own in recent parliament elections and several state assembly polls over the last five years, should continue in view of crucial elections coming up later this year in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand now states ruled by the saffron party.
Shah is likely to remain the BJP chief till a successor is chosen in the party's organisational elections which are likely to be completed by this year. That Nadda would be given a key organizational post had been in speculation ever since he was not inducted in the council of ministers Modi formed after winning the recent national polls.
BJP sources said Nadda, who shifted to national politics in 2010 after being a cabinet minister in Himachal Pradesh, has been rewarded for playing a crucial role while keeping a very low profile in ensuring the party’s success in this year’s parliamentary polls in India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh.