Under the leadership of Amit Shah as the president, BJP has witnessed massive positive strides forward in electoral terms. Be it the massive victory in Uttar Pradesh in 2017 where BJP managed to win a total of 311 seats out of the total 404 seats in the assembly elections or the deep inroads BJP made in the Northeastern states, under Amit Shah’s leadership BJP also improved its tally from the stellar performance in the 2014 general elections from 282 seats in 2014 to 303 seats in 2019. Amit Shah was re-elected for a full three-year term in 2016 after he had replaced Rajnath Singh as the party president in 2014 as the former went on to join the Modi Cabinet following the 2014 general elections victory.
As Amit Shah’s term nears its completion speculations over the new BJP president are already making rounds. Unverified speculations over Amit Shah joining Narendra Modi’s council of ministers have also given wind to discussions regarding new party president. BJP’s constitution also states that individuals may not serve more than two consecutive terms as the party president however it is unclear if Amit Shah‘s tenure before his re-election in 2016 can be considered as a full term. Given the experience and current standing in the party various names emerging as the top contenders include:
Now being dubbed as the ‘giant killer’, Smriti Irani comes to the table after beating Congress president, Rahul Gandhi from his family bastion, Amethi this general elections. Textile minister in the outgoing government, Smriti Irani is expected to be given an important role. Smriti Irani had joined the BJP in 2003 and she became the vice-president of the Maharashtra Youth Wing in 2004. She was also nominated as an executive member of the central committee of the BJP. With more than a decade of experience in the BJP and experience in holding important portfolios in the union government, Smriti Irani presents a mix of both organizational and administrative experience to take as the top post in the BJP. Smriti Irani has held important portfolios like MHRD (26 May 2014 – 5 July 2016), she also was given additional charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (18 July 2017 – 14 May 2018). If Smriti Irani is elected as the BJP president she would be the first female president of the party.
Minister of Home Affairs in the outgoing government, Rajnath Singh can be called back into the organization given his experience running in multiple decades within the BJP. Rajnath Singh was the BJP president when the party had registered a stellar victory in 2014 dislodging the Congress and bringing the Congress to its lowest tally of just 44 seats, following which Rajnath Singh went on to take on as the Minister of Home Affairs in the NDA government. Rajnath Singh took office as BJP president in December 2005 for the remainder of LK Advani’s term. He was reappointed for a full term in 2006. Rajnath Singh had held many positions for the RSS and the BJP, including serving as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the president of the BJP’s youth wing. Given his deep experience in the organization, Rajnath Singh also emerges as a top contender for the apex post in the party.
Jagat Prakash Nadda is the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare in the current outgoing government. Speculations over JP Nadda’s name for the party president are emerging after BJP’s stellar performance in Uttar Pradesh this general election. JP Nadda was an election convener for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. He is a member of Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh and also Parliamentary Board Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party since May 2010. JP Nadda has also served as a minister in Himachal Pradesh government and various organizational positions in ABVP. Given his decades of experience within the organization, JP Nadda surely emerges as another top contender for the post of BJP president.
Post of the BJP president has been an important position considering the democratic nature of BJP’s functioning. A strong and experienced leader at this post will surely be an advantage for the BJP which is aiming to cover the remaining political grounds in southern India and regain power in the states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and others.