Amit Shah’s coronation; let’s recall the previous five BJP chiefs

New Delhi, Jan. 24 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trusted lieutenant Amit Shah is only third after Lal Krishna Advani and Rajnath Singh to get a second term as the BJP president.

Rajnath, presently the Union Home Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, served as the BJP president from January 1-November 26, 2006; and November 26-December 31, 2009.

In his first term as the BJP president, Rajnath laid emphasis on issues of public interest like growing prices of essential commodities and farmers’ grievances.

His charismatic performance and mass outreach led him to become the Member of Parliament from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, in 2009.

As the BJP president, Rajnath led from the front to ensure harmony in the BJP despite organisational disorders.

He struck a perfect balance between the old and the new, with no clear winners or losers in the party.

Rajnath also elevated younger leaders like Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Ravi Shankar Prasad and first time MPs Dharmendra Pradhan and Kiren Rijiju during his tenure.

The MP from Ghaziabad was forced to step down from the post to make way for Nitin Gadkari after the BJP faced a humiliating defeat in the 2009 general elections.

Gadkari, who was then the BJP’s Maharashtra unit chief, replaced Rajnath to the party’s top post. Gadkari, who took charge on December 19, 2009, became the party’s youngest-ever president.

Considered close to the RSS, Gadkari continued in the post till January 22, 2013, as he was forced to step down after his name surfaced in a controversy related to the Purti Group.

Gadkari wanted a second term as the president, but many senior leaders, including Yashwant Sinha, were against his re-election.

“I have committed no wrong or any impropriety either directly or indirectly. I do not wish that this should in any way adversely affect the interest of the BJP. I have, therefore, decided not to seek a second term as the president of the BJP,” he said then in a statement.

The BJP yet again imposed its faith on Rajnath, who took charge as the party president on January 23, 2013, after Gadkari’s resignation.

Rajnath’s second term turned the tables for the BJP on the national front – the media termed him as a ‘Doctor for nation’s ills’, who prescribed ‘Modicine’.

“The country is buffeted by ailments. You take Anacin for headache and Crocin for fever. I present you with ‘Modicine’ for problems ailing the country,” Singh said referring to Modi in a rally.

Rajnath in his second term announced his team of 76 office bearers. The parliamentary board, to which Modi returned after six years, included Lal Krishna Advani, Leader of the Opposition in both houses of Parliament Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, and former party presidents M.M. Joshi, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari.

Rajnath stepped down as the BJP president on July 9, 2014, after the party’s splendid victory in the Lok Sabha polls.

BJP stalwart Lal Krishna Advani became the president for the second time on October 27, 2004, after the dismal show in the general elections which depleted the NDA’s strength in the Lok Sabha from 304 to 186.

‘The responsibility for the defeat was collective and there was no question of pinning the blame on any individual’, Advani wrote in his book ‘My Country My Life’.

Advani, who succeeded Naidu after the latter resigned for ‘personal reasons’ taking ‘full responsibility’ for the defeat, continued in the post till December 31, 2006.

Advani had then contended that he had no desire to become the BJP president again after the 2004 defeat and said finding a successor to Naidu was an ‘excruciating task’. (ANI)

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