AS JAGAT Prakash Nadda was elected unopposed as the BJP’s national president on Monday, marking continuity with the current dispensation of the party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the party would “abide by its basic principles and ideologies” and cautioned that he would face “more challenges” from the Opposition.
“I am confident that under his (Nadda’s) leadership, the party will go ahead by abiding by its basic principles and ideologies. We will have to face more challenges in future than we faced as a political party in the Opposition, and we must be ready. Our target will be moulding our workers and taking India ahead as per the needs and desires of the nation,” Modi said at the party headquarters here.
Nadda, who was the only one in the fray, takes over from Amit Shah as the BJP’s 11th president.
Praising Nadda’s commitment to the party, Modi said: “A party worker walks ahead with duties given to him and shoulders his responsibilities to the best of his abilities. I have seen Naddaji doing that very well.” Modi said he was sure the party would scale newer heights during Nadda’s presidency. He also praised Shah, describing him as an “outstanding karyakarta (worker)”.
Nadda, 59, who has been the working president of the BJP since June, is taking over at a time when the party is facing a critical challenge to retain its winning streak — the BJP lost power in Maharashtra and Jharkhand after it returned to power at the Centre with a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha polls.
Senior BJP leaders said Nadda’s biggest challenge would be to take the party forward on its ideological path. After coming to power, the BJP government has pushed legislation to scrap J&K’s special status and amend the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
With the BJP facing criticism for going ahead with the contentious citizenship law, Modi used the opportunity to slam the Opposition for indulging in what he called “misinformation”. He said: “Our problems are not because we are doing something wrong. Those rejected by the people have limited means but one of them is to spread falsehoods. They have a full ecosystem for it. BJP workers have always drawn their strength from the people of India. We do not seek validation from an ecosystem that will never accept us.”
“There are some people who dislike the very principles that guide us. That’s why there are attempts to create troubles for us. For them, the problem is that the people of India are with us. These are the same people rejected by the people of India,” said Modi.
Congratulating Nadda, Shah said that under the new BJP president and “guidance of Modi”, the party would grow even further. Shah too commented on Nadda’s “organisational skills and experience” and said the BJP “will set new records” under him. Under Nadda’s leadership, all BJP workers will continue to walk on the organisation’s path, Shah said.
“I am grateful for the affection and support that I got from the organisation as the BJP national president. I thank Prime Minister Modi, all senior leaders and colleagues for always keeping faith in me,” Shah said.
Nadda has had a long career within the BJP, starting with the ABVP in his college days, functioning as minister both in Himachal and at the Centre, and overseeing several elections for the party. He is known to enjoy a good rapport with all top party leaders.
The Delhi Assembly elections, days from now, will be Nadda’s first challenge. He has been touring the Capital extensively.
The ceremony at the BJP headquarters on Monday was attended by members of the party parliamentary board, veterans like L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, as well as chief ministers Yogi Adityanath and Vijay Rupani. Shah, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, besides several functionaries from state units, filed nominations in support of Nadda.
Meanwhile, in his first remarks after taking over as the new BJP president, Nadda set the target of winning power in the states where his party has not yet registered electoral success. “Today, we are the world’s largest party that is in power in India. We have the highest number of MPs and MLAs in the country. We are not going to stop at this. There are some states left and we have set our aim there. We will make sure we reach them as well,” he said.
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