NEW DELHI: Sticking to the norms of "one man, one post", the BJP passed the leadership baton to former Union Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda after the incumbent Amit Shah joined the Narendra Modi Cabinet as Minister for Home Affairs.
The BJP Parliamentary Board in its brief meeting on Monday selected Nadda, 58, who is also a Brahmin, as the working President of the saffron outfit.
Nadda is likely to assume full leadership of the party upon the conclusion of the organisational elections within the BJP, which would kick-start from August and likely to be wrapped up within two months.
Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, Nadda has a formidable Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) pedigree, having spent his initial years as an activist of Akhil Vidyarthi Parishad in Patna, Bihar.
In 2014, Nadda was also a key contender for the top party position on the grounds that he enjoyed the confidence of Prime Minister Modi.
His omission from the council of ministers in Modi's second term had made it evident that Nadda had been slotted for the top party post. He was Minister for Health and Family Welfare in Modi's first term.
Sources said that Nadda had held extensive parleys with Union Minister Nitin Gadkari a few days ago before he left for Nagpur, the headquarters of the RSS, amidst speculation that Shah could hand-pick party general secretary Bhupendra Yadav as his successor.
Nadda seemingly followed in the footsteps of Shah on the way to his eventual selection as working president of the party.
Like Shah, Nadda was also appointed as in-charge for Uttar Pradesh before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
While Shah delivered 71 Lok Sabha seats in BJP's kitty from UP, Nadda too staked claims for 62 constituencies in an election, which was, arguably, more challenging than 2014 on account of the grand alliance of Samajwadi Party- Bahujan Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal.
By picking Nadda, a Brahmin, the BJP has also sought to make a fine caste balance.
"After the exit of Kalraj Mishra from the council of ministers, the BJP lacked a Brahmin at top position within the party and government. Modi hailing from OBC, Nadda promises to cement BJP's hold on formidable Brahmins in UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and other states, besides blunting Congress' attempts to make inroads in upper caste constituencies," said a senior BJP functionary.
Nadda is likely to work in close coordination with Shah after having been the BJP Parliamentary Board secretary for five years.
His immediate challenge would be to steer the BJP to victories in the upcoming Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana, which would be closely followed by polls in Delhi.
Working with 'Team Amit Shah', Nadda's role is cut out to lead BJP's expansions along with maintaining the winning momentum of the saffron outfit.