Busy days ahead for BJP as Nadda set to take over as president

Nadda is likely to be elected unanimously by January 20

BJP working president J.P. Nadda | PTI BJP working president J.P. Nadda | PTI

It's going to be a busy week for the BJP. The ruling party will put in motion to elect a new president. J.P. Nadda, the current working president, is likely to be elected unanimously by January 20.

The process will start on January 17 with election in-charge Radhamohan Singh, a former Union minister, announcing the schedule. As the party elects its president, a formal process will be initiated under which aspirants can file their nominations. But as it has been a precedent with the party, all chiefs were elected unanimously.

Sources said nominations are likely to be filed by January 19, so the declaration may take place the same day or next when the process is completed. There will be a grand show at the party office when Nadda formally takes charge as BJP's 11th president. L.K. Advani had been president for three terms, and Rajnath Singh for two terms.

Nadda, a former health minister, has been the party MLA from Himachal Pradesh, where he was also a cabinet minister. He was born in Patna and did his education from the state. He was also active during his student days as an ABVP activist.

Nadda will become the president when his party is facing a challenge of nationwide protests on the issue of citizenship law. 

Moreover, Delhi Assembly polls will be the first major electoral challenge for the BJP after Nadda taking over as the president. The party could win only three seats last time. This time also, party insiders say, elections will be tough.

The candidates for Delhi will be picked up on January 16 when the meeting of central election committee is scheduled. Sources said after detailed discussions, three senior leaders—Amit Shah, J.P. Nadda and BJP general secretary organisation B.L. Santosh—were involved in zeroing in on winnable candidates. The election hopefuls have been making a beeline for the BJP office for consideration.

Sources claimed that party's position has improved in recent assessments. “During the earlier assessment, there was a huge gap, but now the BJP has picked up. It is almost neck-and-neck fight with the AAP,” a party leader said.

After Delhi, Bihar elections are scheduled later this year. That is also going to be a crucial test for the BJP-JD(U) alliance.

After Nadda is picked up, his election is likely to be endorsed by the BJP's national council. That meeting may be scheduled during Budget session recess.  The budget session will be in two parts—from January 31 to February 11 and then March 2 to April 3.  “The national council meet could be held during this session break,” a party source said.

After Nadda takes over, it will also set in motion the process to make changes in the office bearers. Also, there are vacancies in the BJP's highest decision making body, the parliamentary board, after the death of Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj. 

As Home Minister Amit Shah gets busy with pushing the ideological and reform agenda of the government, it will be left to Nadda to take it to the masses through party's massive outreach.