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BJP Intensifies Search for Next Party President

A day after Rajnath Singh took charge as the country’s Home Minister, the BJP scaled up its efforts to select his replacement as party president.

The BJP’s constitution forbids a leader from holding a dual charge, and Mr. Singh, 62, is likely to resign from the party president’s post next week in keeping with the rules governing organizational functioning.

Among those who are being tipped to replace Mr. Singh as the BJP president are J P Nadda and Amit Shah, both of whom are party general secretaries at present. Former Rajasthan BJP president Om Mathur is also said to be in the reckoning, sources in the BJP said.

BJP leaders have been in touch with the top brass of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or the RSS, their party’s ideological mentor, discussing probable names for the next BJP president. But the final decision, sources said, is likely to be made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in consultation with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and his three senior colleagues -Suresh “Bhaiyyaji” Joshi, Suresh Soni and Dattatreya Hosbole.

Mr. Nadda, 53, is a low-profile, non-controversial leader from Himachal Pradesh, who has served the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the RSS, and the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the BJP’s youth wing. He shares a good rapport with Mr. Modi.

Mr. Shah, who has turned 50, is one of the few BJP leaders who enjoy Mr. Modi’s complete trust. His stock within the party set-up went up several notches after he scripted the BJP’s stunning victory in Uttar Pradesh, where the party bagged 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats. But like Mr. Modi, he too hails from Gujarat, and this could work against his selection.

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