While all eyes have been trained on the Congress, several parties saw a change of guard – or didn’t – over the past week.
On Wednesday, veteran RJD leader Lalu Prasad became the only one to file the nomination for party president, thus reclaiming the post he has held since the party’s inception in 1997. That makes him the president for the 12th consecutive time and would bring his tenure to 25 years.
SP leader Akhilesh Yadav was elected the party president for the third consecutive time Thursday, a post he held since 2017. Before that, his father Mulayam Singh Yadav was the only president of the SP since its inception in 1992.
And they are not the only ones:
In July this year, Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy found 22 sets of nominations in his favour to pave the way for him to become the ‘lifetime’ president of the YSRCP. Last week, the Election Commission directed the party to make a “clear and categorical public announcement” on the issue. Party functionaries told The Indian Express at the time that the party will likely write back that while Jagan was elected unanimously, elections would be held for the post of party president during YSRCP plenaries in the future.
DMK supremo M Karunanidhi was at the helm of affairs of his party from 1969 until his death in August 2018. A month prior, in July that year, he had entered his 50th year, the first leader in the country to be the president of the party for such a long period.
While at present a battle is on between former Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam and ex-Deputy CM Edappadi K Palaniswami over the control of the AIADMK, party supremo J Jayalalitha was its general secretary from 1987, following the death of party founder M G Ramachandran, till her own passing in 2016. In September 2017, she was named the “eternal general secretary” of the party when the OPS and EPS factions came together after her death. In July this year, EPS became the interim general secretary of the AIADMK.
In September this year, Sharad Pawar was re-elected the president of the NCP for the eighth consecutive term. He has held the post for 23 years since 1999, the year the NCP was formed after splitting from the Congress.
After she took over in 1998 as the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi has held the post for 22 years, making her its longest-serving one. Sonia faced challenges in the initial years of her tenure, when Sharad Pawar and P A Sangma resigned citing her foreign origin in 1991, and Jitendra Prasada challenged her for the post in 2001. Rahul Gandhi was elected to the post in December 2017 but held it only until July 2019, when he resigned citing the loss in the 2019 general elections. Sonia then took over again as ‘interim president’, and continues.
BSP founder Kanshi Ram was the president of the organisation from 1984 to 2003, a period of 19 years. Mayawati succeeded to the post and her tenure has also entered her 19th year.
In 2006, senior Janata leader Sharad Yadav was elected the party president and held on to the post till 2016, after which current Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took over. Senior party leader Lalan Singh is the party president at the moment.
The BJP has an upper limit of two consecutive terms for the post of party president, owing to an amendment made in 2012. LK Advani was its longest serving president for about 10 years at different periods (1986-1990; 1993-1998; 2004-2005). However, the party has never had elections to the post since its inception, with candidates being chosen unanimously.