New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI): Amit Shah, who delivered crucial state of Uttar Pradesh to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha elections, was appointed party president on Wednesday, marking Gujarat's firm grip over the ruling dispensation after Narendra Modi's elevation as Prime Minister.
Shah, 50, a close and controversial aide of Modi, was appointed to the top post in the BJP at a meeting of Parliamentary Board where incumbent Rajnath Singh resigned after a tenure of one-and-a-half years.
A former minister of state for home in Gujarat, Shah faces charges in the Sohrabuddin fake-encounter case.
But he is largely credited for the BJP's stunning performance in UP where it got 71 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats. His reward makes him the youngest president of a party in which veterans have called the shots since its inception.
Considered an invaluable deputy to any neta, he has taken less than a year to catapult himself from a Gujarat BJP strongman to the party's boss on the national stage.
Shah's organizational skills came in handy for the BJP in bordering Bihar as well where the party forged alliances with the LJP and OBC strongman Upinder Kushwaha to score a staggering 22 alone and 31 out of 40 seats with allies and reducing the state's incumbent JDU government to a virtual naught.
With his master act of scripting LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan's return to the NDA fold after over a decade since Godhra riots, Shah managed a massive political makeover for his boss Modi, who had long been denounced by Paswan for the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Wednesday’s 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 the 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,” he said flanked by Modi and other leaders.
Shortly after the announcement, Modi and Singh offered sweets to Shah while other leaders including Advani, Joshi, Swaraj and Jaitley gave him bouquets.
As reporters started plying him questions, Shah replied “I will speak later” bringing the brief ceremony to a close.