Stage set for Amit  Shah’s re-election

Party is waiting for completion of elections of half of the state party chiefs to create quorum for electing the national chief

New Delhi : With the election of MLA Basant Panda as the Odisha BJP chief on Thursday, the stage is now set for the re-election of Amit Shah as the party president completing his term on January 23.

Though his re-election is a formality, the party was waiting for completion of elections of half of the state party chiefs to create quorum for electing the national president. The party has 37 units and Panda is the 19th president unanimously elected.

The notification for the president’s election is expected latest by Monday from party MP Avinash Rai Khanna, who is the returning officer. Since Shah is currently completing the remainder term of Rajnath Singh who quit on becoming the home minister, it will be his first term of three years and as such eligible for second term in 2019, the parliamentary election year.

There will be a reshuffle in the party after his election as the party constitution empowers the President to nominate all other office-bearers. Speculation is that there shall be also a cabinet reshuffle as PM Modi may like to send some ministers back to the organisation and take some from the party in his ministry.

Shah was keen to first pick up the Uttar Pradesh unit president to get legitimacy of the largest state to his election, but he is stuck up even in deciding the president of his home state Gujarat, besides the problematic states of Delhi and Karnataka.

He could not play his hand in Uttar Pradesh because of pressure of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to appoint party MLA Dharampal Singh Lodhi as the state president while other groups rooted for general secretary Swatantra Dev Singh. Both are from the backward castes, the principal criteria of Shah as also Prime Minister Modi.

In Gujarat, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel wants to pick up a Patel as the state party chief while Shah wanted to push a backward to balance the Patel-OBC equations. Citing the ruling party’s route in the rural polls last month, Shah is skeptic of getting full support of Patels in view of Hardik Patel’s reservation agitation.

In the faction-ridden, Shah has deferred polls till February citing some local elections there after former CM and MP B S Yeddyurappa is desperate to become the state chief while union minister Ananth Kumar’s group opposed to him persuaded Shah to put off the elections.

Free Press Journal