List of Presidents of the Bharatiya Janata Party

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Image of Lotus flower.
The election symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is one of two major parties in the Indian political system, along with the Indian National Congress.[1] As of 2018, it is the country's largest political party in terms of representation in the national parliament and state assemblies. According to the party, in 2015 it had over 100 million members.[2][3] The BJP is a right-wing party, and its policy has historically reflected Hindu nationalist positions. It has close ideological and organisational ties to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation.[4][5][6][7]

The BJP's origins lie in the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, formed in 1951 by Syama Prasad Mukherjee.[8] In 1977, the Jana Sangh merged with several other parties to form the Janata Party, which dissolved three years later, after which the members of the erstwhile Jana Sangh reconvened to form the BJP. The party won only two seats in the 1984 Indian parliamentary election, but grew in strength on the back of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement, which was agitating to build a temple to the Hindu deity Rama at the site of the Babri mosque.[9] The National Democratic Alliance, led by the BJP, has held power in India on four occasions, including short-lived governments after elections in 1996 and 1998, a full five-year term between 1999 and 2003, and the current Indian government, which has held power since 2014.[6][10][11]

The President of the BJP is the highest authority within the party, and fills a number of roles, including chairing meetings of the National Executive of the party and appointing the presidents of party subsidiaries, such its youth wing and farmer's wing.[12] Any candidate for the presidency needs to have been a member of the party for at least 15 years.[13] The President is nominally elected by an electoral college composed of members drawn from the party's National and State councils, but in practice is a consensus choice of senior members of the party.[12] The term of the President is three years long, and individuals may not serve more than two consecutive terms.[13] The President usually does not also hold a post within a government, and party chiefs have resigned the position to assume posts in Cabinet.[14]

After the party's foundation in 1980, Atal Bihari Vajpayee became its first president. He later became the Prime Minister of India, the only BJP President to serve in that position to date. In 1986, Lal Krishna Advani was sworn in as the party president and has been the longest serving president over three different periods.[15][16] A total of ten people have served as the president of the BJP, including Rajnath Singh who has also served two terms. Amit Shah became the party president on 9 July 2014, and is incumbent as of June 2018.[17][18]

List of party presidents[edit]

Bharatiya Janata Party Presidents
S. No. Term Name Notes References
1 1980–1986 An image of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Atal Bihari Vajpayee Vajpayee became the first President of the BJP upon its formation in 1980. Under him the BJP projected itself as a centrist party that had moved away from the strident politics of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Vajpayee, often seen as the moderate face of the BJP, later became the first Prime Minister of India not from the Indian National Congress to serve a full term. [15]
[19]
[20]
[21]
2 1986–1991 An image of L. K. Advani. L. K. Advani Advani succeeded Atal Bihari Vajpayee as President in 1986, an event usually associated with a shift in the BJP's ideology towards hardline Hindutva, exemplified by the Ram Rath Yatra led by Advani in 1990 as part of an effort to generate electoral support by appealing to Hindu nationalism. He had served as the President of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1973. [15]
[19]
[22]
[23]
[24]
3 1991–1993 An image of Murli Manohar Joshi. Murli Manohar Joshi BJP ideologue Joshi had been affiliated with the Rashtriya Svayamsevak Sangh nearly fifty years before he became BJP President in 1991. As with his predecessor L. K. Advani, he played a large role in the Ram Janmabhoomi agitation. He later served as a cabinet minister in the governments headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. During his Presidency, the BJP became the principal opposition party for the first time. [23]
[25]
[26]
[27]
(2) 1993–1998 An image of Murli Manohar Joshi. L. K. Advani Advani had been a member of the RSS for fifty years when he took office for the second time. His aggressive campaigning helped the BJP became the largest party in the lower house of the Indian Parliament after elections in 1996. Though Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister, Advani was seen as the power within the party, and later served as Deputy Prime Minister. [23]
[27]
4 1998–2000 Kushabhau Thakre Thakre had been associated with the RSS since 1942. He was not well known outside the BJP when he became the President in 1998, a few months after the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government took office. During his tenure the BJP reduced its emphasis on Hindutva, such as its demand for abrogating Article 370 of the Indian constitution, to accommodate the views of a large coalition. [22]
[28]
[29]
[30]
5 2000–2001 BangaruLaxman2012.jpg Bangaru Laxman Laxman, an RSS member of long standing, became the first Dalit President of the BJP in 2000. A year later a sting operation by Tehelka magazine showed him accepting a bribe, after which Laxman resigned immediately. He remained on the party's National Executive until 2012, when he was convicted for corruption and resigned. [31]
[32]
6 2001–2002 An image of Jana Krishnamurthi. Jana Krishnamurthi Krishnamurthi became acting President upon the resignation of Laxman, and was confirmed as President by the National Executive shortly afterwards. He resigned a year later when he became a minister in the central government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee as part of a cabinet reshuffle. [32]
[33]
[34]
[35]
7 2002–2004 An image of Venkaiah Naidu. Venkaiah Naidu Naidu was elected BJP President after Jana Krishnamurthi was drafted into the Cabinet. His election was seen by commentators as an example of L. K. Advani and the orthodox Hindu-nationalist wing of the party re-asserting control. Though elected to a full term, Naidu resigned after the NDA lost the 2004 Indian general election to the United Progressive Alliance led by the Indian National Congress. [36]
[35]
(2) 2004–2005 An image of L. K. Advani. L. K. Advani Advani, then serving as the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, became BJP President for the third time after Venkaiah Naidu resigned after the 2004 Indian general election. Advani continued to hold his position as leader of the opposition. Advani resigned as President in 2005, after his description of Muhammad Ali Jinnah as a secular leader caused controversy. [23]
[36]
[37]
[38]
[39]
8 2005–2009 An image of Rajnath Singh. Rajnath Singh Singh took office as BJP President in December 2005 for the remainder of Advani's term. He was reappointed for a full term in 2006. Singh had held many positions for the RSS and the BJP, including serving as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the President of the BJP's youth wing. He advocated a return to a Hindutva platform. Singh resigned after the NDA lost the 2009 Indian general election [23]
[39]
[40]
[41]
[42]
9 2009–2013 An image of Nitin Gadkari. Nitin Gadkari Gadkari became the youngest President of the BJP in 2009. A longtime RSS member, he had served as a minister in a coalition government in Maharashtra and as President of the BJP youth wing. He had strong support from the RSS leadership. Gadkari resigned in 2013 after a scandal related to his time as a minister and other allegations of financial impropriety. [23]
[42]
[43]
(8) 2013–2014 An image of Rajnath Singh. Rajnath Singh Singh was elected President for his second term after Gadkari stepped down in 2013. Singh played a large role in the BJP's campaign for the 2014 Indian general election, including declaring Narendra Modi the party's Prime Ministerial candidate despite opposition from within the BJP. After the party's landslide victory, Singh resigned the party presidency to assume the position of Home Minister. [23]
[42]
[44]
10 2014–present An image of Amit Shah. Amit Shah Shah, a close confidant of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, became BJP President for the remainder of Rajnath Singh's term after the latter joined Modi's cabinet. Commentators described Shah's appointment as demonstrating Modi's control over the BJP. Shah was re-elected for a full three-year term in 2016. [17]
[14]
[45]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "In Numbers: The Rise of BJP and decline of Congress". The Times of India. 19 May 2016. Archived from the original on 5 November 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  2. ^ Chatterjee, Mohua (13 July 2015). "BJP enrolls 11 crore members, launches 'Mahasampark Abhiyan'". Firstpost. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  3. ^ "BJP becomes largest political party in the world", The Times of India, 30 March 2015, archived from the original on 6 December 2016
  4. ^ Horowitz, Donald L. (2001). The Deadly Ethnic Riot. University of California Press. p. 244. ISBN 978-0520224476.
  5. ^ Haynes, Jeff (2003). Democracy and Political Change in the Third World. Routledge. pp. 168–170. ISBN 978-1-134-54184-3.
  6. ^ a b Sen, Amartya (2005). India and the world (1. publ. ed.). Allen Lane: 2005. pp. 250–260. ISBN 978-0-7139-9687-6.
  7. ^ Murty, B Vijay (16 September 2017). "Jharkhand: BJP, RSS want like-minded people to head educational institutions". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 20 November 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  8. ^ Swain 2001, p. 60.
  9. ^ "BJP's 37th foundation day: Brief history of the achievements and failures of the party". The Indian Express. 6 April 2017. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  10. ^ Naqvi, Saba; Raman, Anuradha (1 April 2013). "Their Dark Glasses". Outlook. Archived from the original on 21 December 2015. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Narendra Modi sworn in as Indian prime minister". BBC. 26 May 2014. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  12. ^ a b Swain 2001, pp. 71–77.
  13. ^ a b "Bharatiya Janata Party Constitution" (PDF). BJP official website. Bharatiya Janata Party. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 November 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  14. ^ a b Rawat, Sanjay (9 July 2014). "'Murder Accused' Amit Shah Appointed BJP President". Outlook. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  15. ^ a b c Varma, Gyan (7 April 2017). "BJP Foundation Day: How the party has grown since 1980". Mint. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Happy Birthday L K Advani: Facts about the longest serving BJP president". India Today. 8 November 2016. Archived from the original on 13 June 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Amit Shah, Modi's close aide, takes charge as BJP president". The Times of India. 9 July 2014. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  18. ^ Dahat, Pavan (11 June 2018). "Nothing personal against Rahul Gandhi: Amit Shah". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  19. ^ a b Chatterjee, Manini (1994). "The BJP: Political Mobilization for Hindutva". South Asia Bulletin. 14 (1).
  20. ^ "Nation's highest civilian honour for Atal Bihari Vajpayee". Mint. 25 December 2014. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  21. ^ Hansen 1999, pp. 157–158.
  22. ^ a b Guha 2007, pp. 540–560.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g "BJP Presidents from 1980 to 2013". India Today. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  24. ^ Hansen 1999, p. 159.
  25. ^ Muralidharan, Sukumar (7 November 1998). "Taking Hindutva to school". Frontline. Archived from the original on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Presidential Election: Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj Among Probables". News 18. 26 February 2017. Archived from the original on 30 June 2018. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  27. ^ a b Datta, Prabhash K. (21 March 2017). "25 years after Babri demolition: Will Modi choose Advani as President?". India Today. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  28. ^ Bhaumik, Saba Naqvi (27 October 1997). "Veteran leader Kushabhau Thakre emerges as front-runner for BJP president post". India Today. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  29. ^ "Kushabhau Thakre passes away". The Times of India. 28 December 2003. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  30. ^ "Kushabhau Thakre Passes Away". The Financial Express. 28 December 2003. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  31. ^ "Bangaru Laxman, ex-BJP president, dies in Hyderabad". The Times of India. 1 March 2014. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  32. ^ a b Vyas, Nina (14 March 2001). "Jana Krishnamurthy acting BJP chief". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  33. ^ "Ex-BJP president Jana Krishnamurthy cremated in Chennai". The Times of India. 26 September 2007. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  34. ^ "Jana Krishnamurthi ratified BJP chief". The Hindu. 24 March 2001. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  35. ^ a b Ramaseshan, Radhika. "A-Team Powers Back". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  36. ^ a b "Naidu's journey from pasting party posters to being Vice President". Rediff.com. 5 August 2017. Archived from the original on 14 October 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  37. ^ "Advani replaces Venkaiah Naidu as BJP chief". Rediff.com. 18 October 2018. Archived from the original on 4 August 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  38. ^ "No regrets over Jinnah statement: Advani". The Times of India. 6 January 2006. Archived from the original on 12 February 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  39. ^ a b Vyas, Neena (1 January 2006). "Advani resigns as BJP president". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  40. ^ Ghatak, Lopamudra (23 December 2006). "It's basic instinct for Rajnath Singh". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  41. ^ "Who is Rajnath Singh?". India Today. 23 January 2013. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  42. ^ a b c "Rajnath Singh elected BJP president, vows to bring back party to power". India TV. 23 January 2013. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  43. ^ "Nitin Gadkari: From swayamsevak to BJP chief". The Hindu. 19 December 2009. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  44. ^ "Rajnath Singh – from 'Physics lecturer' to 'Union Home Minister'". India TV. 10 September 2014. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  45. ^ Hebbar, Nistula (24 January 2016). "Amit Shah re-elected BJP president". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.

Sources[edit]

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