New Delhi: After the announcement of the 2019 Lok Sabha election results, the most burning topic of speculation has been the possible role of BJP president Amit Shah. While strong rumours are afoot for him to don the mantle of the Union home minister, he could still lead the BJP to yet another victory in the 2024 polls, if he or the party chose.

MyNation looked at the BJP constitution, and it still allows, against popular confusion over party president’s tenure, for Shah to become BJP president and continue, based on precedence, to be so even in 2024 when the BJP would be seeking a third consecutive term in government.

The BJP constitution allows a person to have two consecutive terms of three years each as president of the party. Rather more important is another clause that if a president demits office before his/her term of three years, the rest of the term is not counted in the account of the next chosen president.

Shah took over the office of the BJP president on July 9, 2014, when the Central Parliamentary Board unanimously approved his appointment. He took over from Rajnath Singh, who had been elected president on January 24, 2013, after Nitin Gadkari had stepped down in 2013 after a scandal over alleged financial impropriety.

Singh was then drafted into the Narendra Modi cabinet as Union home minister on May 26, 2014, and stepped down as BJP president without completing his three-year term. Shah had then taken over the reins of the party for the ‘remainder’ of Singh’s term.

“Earlier, Singh himself had taken over the remainder of Lal Krishna Advani’s term starting in 2004 after the latter resigned following a controversy over calling Muhammad Ali Jinnah “secular”. While Singh served the ‘remainder’ of Advani’s term till 2005, he was re-elected for a full term in 2005. So reminders of former party chief is not counted in the reigning chief’s tenure,” said a senior BJP leader.  

Meanwhile, Shah was re-elected BJP President unanimously on January 24, 2016. Therefore, his first official term to be counted as part of the two-consecutive-term rule started in 2016. While his tenure was to end in January 2019, the national executive extended the term for another year, that is till January 2020, with a view to special circumstances of state elections and impending Lok Sabha elections.

Therefore, if Shah chooses to continue, he still has a three-year term left. He can continue till January 2023. Going by precedence, the party would once again have to extend his tenure going by the same logic as that of last time: the special circumstances of 2014 Lok Sabha polls.