BJP amends constitution for president's term extension

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy recently threatened legal action against his own party, saying the extension of J.P. Nadda’s term as president violates the party constitution

(From left) Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi, J.P. Nadda and Amit Shah at the national convention
(From left) Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi, J.P. Nadda and Amit Shah at the national convention

NH Political Bureau

The BJP's national convention on Sunday amended the party's constitution, allowing its apex organisational body, the Parliamentary Board, to take a decision related to its president, including his or her term and its extension, in "emergency" situations. A proposal to this effect was brought by the party's general secretary Sunil Bansal.

On 14 February, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had threatened to take legal action against his own party, alleging that the lack of internal elections and the extension of J.P. Nadda’s term as national president was violative of the party constitution, according to a report in the Print.

In a letter to Nadda on 6 February, Swamy wrote: “I am enclosing herewith my letter apprising the Election Commission (dated 13 November, 2023) about the lack of internal party elections in BJP as violative of statutory and constitutional provisions, as provided in the Constitution and The Representation of the People Act, 1951."

The party president is generally elected through organisational polls after a few elections are carried out in at least 50 per cent of its state bodies. The state BJP organisation poll is also contingent upon elections in district bodies and so on. Sources said when the party is busy preparing for assembly or Lok Sabha elections, it is hard to follow the laid down practice for the internal polls.

Incumbent president Nadda is currently on an extended tenure until 30 June in the view of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Though the party has not elaborated on the details and rationale behind the amendment, sources said it may have to do with the future appointments of its presidents.

“Even the term-extension of the BJP President is currently in contravention to Article XXI of the Party Constitution, which stipulates for the term’s length to be only 3 years, extendable through fresh party elections,” Swamy had written in his letter, as per the Print report.

The veteran leader said since the matter was before the Election Commission and “may be filed in the Delhi High Court as violative of my fundamental rights, I hereby give you notice that I intend taking legal action for necessary reliefs, after a month from today’s date”.

There has been no formal acknowledgment from the party of Swamy's letter or his threat to sue.

A meeting of chief ministers and deputy chief ministers of the BJP was held at the convention's conclusion, and they discussed details of the party's strategy to win 370 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and governance issues. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nadda also attended the meeting.

Later in a post on X, Modi said, "Had an extensive meeting with chief ministers and deputy chief ministers of states where the BJP is serving in government. Discussed ways to further strengthen the growth trajectory of the states so that we can leverage double engine of growth to build a 'Viksit Bharat'."

With inputs from PTI

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