The BJP’s parliamentary board, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday declared former Union Minister J.P. Nadda the party’s working president, after the incumbent Amit Shah joined the Union Cabinet.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made the announcement after a meeting of the board here.
“The BJP has won in several elections under the leadership of Shri Amit Shah. After Mr. Modi appointed him the Home Minister, Amitji himself said the responsibility of party president should be given to someone else. The parliamentary board met today [on Monday] and it has selected Shri J.P. Nadda as the working president. He will remain the working president till the membership drive and organisational elections are over,” he said.
The organisational elections are expected to stretch over the next few months into December.
This is the first time the BJP has appointed a working president.
Party sources said that with the important Assembly elections due in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand towards the year-end, Mr. Nadda was required for the day-to-day functioning and decision-making, with Mr. Shah continuing as president, till the election for the national president was held after the membership drive.
Mr. Nadda, 58, who was born in Patna, hails from Himachal Pradesh. He became president of the BJP Yuva Morcha at the age of 31. He served as a Minister in the Himachal Pradesh government, under Prem Kumar Dhumal, between 2008 and 2010. He became Health Minister in the first government of Mr. Modi in 2014, and was put in charge of Uttar Pradesh during the 2019 election, in which the BJP bagged 62 seats and improved its vote share to over 50%.
While sources remained mum on whether the working presidentship will convert to an actual presidency of the party, the possibilities of it being so remain high. Mr Shah, meanwhile, still holds the post of president but is expected to concentrate on his ministerial responsibilities.