Shah to continue as BJP chief till next round of Assembly polls

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah will continue as BJP President till the year-end, at least, as the party said the issue about the next BJP chief will be considered only after completion of the fresh enrollment drive launched on Thursday.

Accordingly, Shah will oversee the next round of Assembly elections slated in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand by December 2019.

Shah on Thursday held a key meeting with national office-bearers, state unit chiefs and state in-charges here at the BJP headquarters and discussed the issues related to organisational elections and constituted a five-member committee headed by former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to deal with membership drive.

The meeting comes amid speculation that senior party leaders J.P. Nadda or Bhupender Yadav may take over the reigns of the BJP.

Asked about the speculation over the next party President, Yadav, who is also in the race to become the party chief said, “Organisational elections will be conducted once the membership drive is over.”

“Chouhan will be the convenor of the membership drive. Party leaders Dushyant Gautam, Suresh Pujari, Arun Chaturvedi and Shobha Surendran will assist him as co-convenors,” he said.

The team would soon meet to decide dates and programmes for the drive, he added.

Party insiders see the Yadav’s response as a hint that the party will get its new president by next year.

In 2014, the BJP’s membership drive went for five months and after it the party became world’s largest political party. The party had 3.5 crore members before the begining of membership drive in 2014 which has now reached at 11 crore.

“The BJP has 11 crore members at present and we are aiming to increase it by 20 per cent,” Yadav said.

Addressing the party leaders, Shah said the BJP with its best-ever Lok Sabha tally of 303 seats is yet to reach its peak and stressed the need to expand its base to new regions like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and sections of the society.

“Amit Shah told party office-bearers that BJP has still not arrived at its peak in terms of its electoral performance,” Yadav said.

“I had said in 2014 in BJP’s national council meeting that we are yet to achieve our peak. Today, I am again saying the party is yet to be at its peak,” Yadav quoted Shah as saying.

Shah told the party leaders that the BJP has still a long way to go, urging them to devote themselves to the cause.

In 2014, addressing BJP’s two-day National Executive in Bhubaneswar in Odisha, Shah had said many people declared after the 2014 general election that the BJP reached its peak, but it was not so.

“They then said in 2017 (after elections to the five states, including Uttar Pradesh) that the BJP has now attained it peak, but it is not the case. The BJP is yet to be at its peak. The BJP will attain its peak when BJP will have Chief Ministers in all the states and it has members everywhere — from panchayats to Parliament,” Shah had said.

Shah attributed party’s victory in Lok Sabha polls to party workers and hit out at opposition parties, saying people have rejected the politics of casteism, dynasty and communalism in 2019 elections.

Those present in the meeting included former Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh and Vasundhara Raje, General Secretaries Kailash Vijayvargiya, Bhupender Yadav, Arun Singh, Anil Jain and J.P. Nadda as well as state Bharatiya Janata Party chiefs.