NEW DELHI: Home minister Amit Shah will continue as BJP president with the party on Thursday announcing long schedule of a special membership drive to be followed by organisational elections that rules out any early change of guard at the helm of the party.
The decisions endorsed by a meeting of BJP national office-bearers suggest the party may also not opt for a "working president", an option discussed in the context of Shah assuming new responsibilities in government. However, any significant organisational changes seem ruled out for now.
The development comes even as Shah told the office-bearers that BJP has not peaked with its tally of 303 seats. He alluded to the party growing in states where it had not won many seats but where its vote is rising. The reference was also seen as an effort to gear up the party for state polls later this year.
The organisational activities announced makes it clear that Shah's continuance is seen as necessary with important state elections coming up in Haryana, Jharkhand and Maharashtra later this year and assembly polls due in Delhi early in 2020. Rather than experiment with change, BJP brass has opted for the safe hands of Shah.
While Shah's induction into the cabinet was widely anticipated, a decision on the party chief was not easy given the stature he has acquired, starting with his stewardship of BJP affairs in UP as general secretary that saw the party win 71 seats in the state in 2014. The crucial role played by his organisational skills in BJP winning 303 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections made finding a successor all the more a challenging task.
The organisational elections will allow the party to side-step its practice of a leader not holding more than one post.
The special membership drive will be overseen by former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chauhan and will continue till the end of July. The objective is to increase the party's 11 crore membership by around 20%.
This will be followed by a time-table of organisational elections that is expected to go on till the end of the year. The poll-bound states will be exempted from holding the exercise.
In is address, Shah said the verdict of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections that enhanced BJP's tally was an endorsement of the Modi government's governance record with party candidates getting 50% or more votes on more than 200 of the 303 seats they won.
Shah said the 2019 mandate is against casteism, family rule and communalism. He cited the virtual decimation of the SP-BSP alliance in UP as popular rejection of caste-based parties.
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