NEW DELHI: Amit Shah, a close and controversial aide of Modi, was appointed the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party marking Gujarat's firm grip over the ruling dispensation after Narendra Modi's elevation as Prime Minister.
SHah, who delivered crucial Uttar Pradesh to the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, was appointed to the top post in the party at a meeting of Parliamentary Board where incumbent Rajnath Singh resigned after a tenure of one-and-a-half years.
The former Minister of State for Home in Gujarat and who faces charges in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case is largely credited for BJP's stunning performance in UP where it got 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats.
The meeting was attended among others by Modi, senior leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had to table the pre-Budget Economic Survey in Lok Sabha, joined the press conference where the announcement was made by Singh before all these leaders.
"From now and now on, Amit Shah will be the president of the BJP and lead the party. His appointment was asp proved unanimously," Rajnath said flanked by Modi and other leaders.
Shortly after the announcement, Modi and Rajnth offered sweets to Shah while other leaders including Advani, Joshi, Swaraj and Jaitley gave him bouquets.
Amit Bhai started his journey as an ordinary Karyakarta & has repeatedly proven himself through tireless hardwork & determination.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 9, 2014
As reporters started plying him questions, Shah replied "I will speak later" bringing the brief ceremony to a close.
50-year-old Shah takes over from Singh who was appointed party president after the exit of Nitin Gadkari in controversial circumstances.
"I took over as the BJP President with a heavy heart. I felt helpless because of baseless allegations levelled against Nitin Gadkari. Since the Prime Minister has given me the responsibility of the Home Ministry...
"I convened the meeting of the Central Parliamentary Board and tendered resignation (as party chief)...the Parliamentary Board unanimously decided to appoint Amit Shah as the President of BJP," Singh said.
Singh had recently announced that he will relinquish his BJP role in keeping with the party's "one-man, one-post" principle.
"Shah is full of imaginative ideas and is good at organisational skills. As in charge of UP during Lok Sabha polls, he got a roaring success. BJP had never been so successful in its history in UP," Singh said.
My good wishes to Shri Amit Shah for his new innings. I'm confident that the BJP will continue moving forward in his stewardship.— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) July 9, 2014
Congratulations to Shri Amit Shah on his elevation to the BJP President's post. He is known for his organisational and management skills.— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) July 9, 2014
He also credited former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani for making the Indian polity from unipolar to bipolar.
Singh said under Modi's leadership, the party got thumping majority in the Lok Sabha elections, thus becoming the single largest party to get majority on its own after nearly 30 years.
BJP is set for major organisational changes following its victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as many of its senior leaders have become part of the Modi government.
The party's reorganisation will come ahead of Assembly elections in states like Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand later this year and early next year.
The RSS, BJP's ideological fountainhead, is also keen that the party should not be weakened after government formation.
It had already deputed two of its key leaders -- Ram Madhav and Shiv Prakash -- to work for BJP and new roles for both of them will be assigned by the new party chief. The two are likely to get key roles in the revamped party set-up with Madhav likely to be the new party general secretary.
The announcement of Shah's name as BJP President came after RSS' nod for the same.
Singh later told reporters that Shah will be more successful than him as the party president.
"I have full confidence that Amit Shah through his organisational and managerial skills, will be successful in making BJP, which has emerged as the largest political party in the country, reach bigger heights. I believe that Shah will be more successful than me," he said.
Senior BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi said the party has taken a correct decision by appointing Shah as its president.
"Since Rajnath Singh became the Home Minister, BJP had been looking for a president. I want to congratulate Amit Shah on behalf of all the party workers.
"The party has taken a very correct decision by appointing him as the president as we have already seen his managerial skills and capabilities in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat," she said.