Amit Shah will start a full term as BJP president on January 24 after completing the remaining period of Rajnath Singh’s term who resigned as party president in 2014 to join the Modi government as Union Home Minister.
BJP sources said Shah’s appointment suggests continuance of Modi’s political template of development and Hindutva.
Shah starts his new innings at a time when the party and he are still recovering from the drubbing in Bihar, when the economic outlook remains lacklustre, and there is growing concern among minorities and Dalits on the Parivar agenda.
A close associate of Modi, Shah wants the party to be more proactive in implementing the central government’s agenda, especially in pushing missions like Namami Gange, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana.
On the electoral front, he has to prepare the party for elections in the states in the next two years. Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Puducherry will go to assembly polls in April-May while Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur are due to vote in 2017.
Although Shah’s name for a full term as BJP chief had been doing the rounds, it was not a smooth affair. Many rounds of negotiations and debates took place, involving RSS leaders, Shah, Modi and organisational secretaries. There was scepticism among party elders, led by L K Advani, on his capabilities.
But Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, sources said, decided it was in the party’s interest to let Shah continue. Complaints against Shah, sources said, ranged from induction of “average talent” in the party to his inaccessibility and neglect of party leaders. But Shah’s connect with cadres on the ground was one factor that weighed heavily in his favour when it came to a decision on a full term for him.