Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's closest confidant Amit Shah was appointed the new President of ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party yesterday.
The appointment of 49-year-old Shah, one of the youngest presidents of the party who succeeds Rajnath Singh, gives Modi, who singlehandedly steered BJP to an emphatic victory in parliamentary elections less than two months ago, complete control over both the party and the government.
Rajnath Singh, who is currently India's Home Minister, is stepping down as BJP chief as the party's constitution does not allow a leader to hold two posts.
Shah's appointment as BJP chief was approved at a meeting of BJP parliamentary board, the party's highest decision-making forum yesterday afternoon and caps a meteoric and rapid rise for the party's key election strategist who is credited with crafting the party's unprecedented victory general elections in politically key state of Uttar Pradesh which sends the highest number of members -- 80 -- to Lok Sabha.
After Modi as Prime Minister, Shah's becoming the party president marks a generational change in BJP where veterans like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani and M M Joshi, have called the shots since its inception in 1977.
The change of guard at the top in BJP comes at a time when the party is gearing up to wrest power in key states like Maharashtra and Haryana ruled by Congress. Polls to legislatures are also due in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand and Bihar within the next year.
Many in BJP had initially doubted Shah's political management skill when he was appointed as in-charge of BJP's affairs in Uttar Pradesh as he was considered a rank outsider because he spent all his political life in Gujarat and that he is new to Uttar Pradesh where the politics is highly caste-ridden.
Shah's name for the post was in doubt initially also considering the cases against him that dates back to his stint as the minister of state (home) in Gujarat when Modi was the chief minister. He faces a court case relating to in Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kausar Bi and Tulsi Prajapati fake encounter killing.