New Delhi: In a first, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Thursday took oath as a member of the Union council of ministers under Prime Minister Narenda Modi-led second term of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Shah took the oath of office and secrecy late Thursday evening in Hindi at the Rashtrapati Bhawan along with other union ministers who were sworn in. After Modi and senior leader Rajnath Singh, Shah was the third minister to take oath of office.
While he has served in the Rajya Sabha before, this is Shah’s first tenure in the Lok Sabha after winning the Gandhinagar seat in Gujarat with a landslide margin. The seat was earlier held by BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani.
The portfolio of Shah is not known yet as the list has not been announced.
Catch all the updates here: Narendra Modi Swearing-In Live Updates
Shah’s presence in the council of ministers comes in the backdrop of the BJP winning a historic mandate in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.
Shah’s tenure as the BJP chief is scheduled to end in January next year. The options before the BJP is that he could either continue to be the party president while being in the government, or the party could appoint an interim BJP president for six months Shah's tenure. Senior BJP leaders talk about a third option of holding organisation elections for a new party president.
The decision could depend on the upcoming elections in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Haryana where BJP is incumbent and the party is keen to return to power. Senior leaders of the BJP also pointed out that the upcoming elections in Jammu and Kashmir is also a challenge, since the party would need a strong president to lead the BJP in the contest.
Shah is credited with increasing the political footprint of the BJP to newer territories such as North Eastern states, West Bengal and Odisha, among others, as well as accelerating the social re-engineering of the party.
In the recently concluded 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP notched a historic tally of 303 seats and established its dominance in two back-to-back national elections. The importance of the victory can be understood from the fact that it is for the first time that a non-Congress govt has managed to retain power by getting a majority on its own.