- Top leaders from across the country gathered this morning at BJP office
- JP Nadda, the number three of sorts in BJP, will be elected unopposed
- JP Nadda enjoys the trust of both the PM Modi, Amit Shah
JP Nadda took over today as BJP president, a responsibility he shared with Home Minister Amit Shah for nearly a year. Mr Nadda, considered number three in the ruling party after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, was elected unopposed since he is the only candidate.
Mr Nadda's name was proposed by ex-chiefs and parliamentary board members Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari.
"Amit Shah's stint as BJP chief was unparalleled. He took the party to new heights," said Union Minister Rajnath Singh, a past BJP president.
Mr Nadda enjoys the trust of both the PM and Mr Shah and the change of guard is expected to be a smooth one. But his biggest challenge now is to try and maintain the BJP's dominance in elections, given the party's losses in recent state elections. Under Amit Shah, the party soared to incredible highs, winning back-to-back elections, in 2014 and 2019. Over the past year, the party has suffered reverses in states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
As he steps into Mr Shah's shoes, Mr Nadda has the difficult task of delivering Delhi and then Bihar, where it is in power with ally Nitish Kumar. The party is also trying to expand its base in Mamata Banerjee-ruled Bengal, which will vote in 2021.
A veteran leader, Mr Nadda is an old organizational work horse with strong RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - the BJP's ideological mentor) roots.
He was MLA in Himachal Pradesh for three terms before he moved to the central government as cabinet minister from 1998 to 2003.
In June 2019, Mr Nadda's political stock spiked as he was appointed working president of the BJP.
Mr Shah, who was BJP chief, had written to the Prime Minister requesting that his job be given to someone else so he could focus on his ministerial responsibilities. Mr Shah remained party president to complete organisational restructuring before handing over officially to Mr Nadda.
Mr Nadda's critics feel he will continue to work in Mr Shah's shadow. The BJP has rubbished these claims, calling it the criticism of a party "that cannot think beyond a family for leadership."