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India’s ruling party BJP elects new chief

J P Nadda becomes 11th president of party, replacing Amit Shah, whose tenure saw party touching political heights

Shuriah Niazi   | 20.01.2020
India’s ruling party BJP elects new chief


India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a new president.

An affable and low-key politician Jagat Prakash Nadda was elected unopposed on Monday as the party’s 11th national president, replacing high profile Amit Shah, whose tenure of five-and-half years saw the party touching political heights.

Nadda, 59, belongs to the northern Indian city of Himachal Pradesh. He became the national general secretary of the party in 2010.

He was already functioning as the working president since last July after Shah was appointed as home minister, responsible for internal security.

“JP Nadda has a difficult task before him because he will be constantly under the shadow of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. The BJP did not perform well in recent state elections. Particularly his appointment comes when elections in national capital Delhi are underway,” said political analyst Rasheed Kidwai.

Convincing people about the utility of the new citizenship law and updating of National Register of Citizens (NRC) is appearing a challenge for the party. The law grants non-Muslim residents from three neighboring countries Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh citizenship rights.

Another political analyst Urmilesh said the change of guard at the top in the BJP will make hardly any difference.

“BJP is a cadre-based party. The decisions are taken by the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh], the ideological brain of the party. So, the change makes little difference. Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Shah will continue to have leverage on the party,” he said.

Kidwai said it would be difficult for Nadda to match Amit Shah's skills and capabilities.Modi congratulated Nadda on his election and said he was sure that the party will scale newer heights during his presidency.

Modi, also praised Shah for his contribution, describing him as an outstanding worker.

Former BJP President Nitin Gadkari said the elevation of Nadda, who started as a common party worker and rose through its ranks, shows that the BJP was an organization of workers unlike parties run by dynasties, referring to opposition Congress, which is headed by Gandhi dynasty.

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