Jagat Prakash Nadda took over the reins as Bhartiya Janata Party's President from Amit Shah after being unanimously elected on Monday, January 20. He is the 11th president of the party after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took over as BJP's first President in 1980. Here's the timeline of BJP presidents since then.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1980-86)
Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the first President of the BJP upon its formation in 1980. The party projected itself as centrist, making a major shift from its strident politics of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Vajpayee became the moderate face of the BJP and later went on to become the first non-Congress Prime Minister to complete a full five-year term.
Lal Krishna Advani (1986-91, 1993- 98 and 2004-05)
LK Advani took over as the BJP President for the first time in 1986 after Vajpayee's term. His succession, marked by a tectonic shift in the party's ideology hardline Hindutva. He led Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 to garner electoral support by appealing Hindu nationalism.
Later, during his second term from 1993, BJP became the largest party in Lok Sabha in 1996 general elections. After the BJP lost the Lok Sabha election in 2004, Advani took over as the party's President again but resigned after his description of Muhammad Ali Jinnah as a secular leader caused controversy.
Murli Manohar Joshi (1991-93)
Dr Murli Manohar Joshi had been associated with RSS for almost fifty years before succeeding LK Advani as BJP President. He played a critical role in Ram Janmabhoomi agitation and later served as a cabinet minister in the Vajpayee government.
Kushabhau Thakre (1998-2000)
He was a lesser-known figure outside the party. He became the BJP President after Vajpayee-led NDA government took over power in New Delhi. During his tenure, the BJP resorted to the softer Hindutva for accommodating the view of other parties in the coalition.
Bangaru Laxman (2000-01)
Laxman was the first Dalit President of BJP but was forced to resign after a brief period of one year when he was caught taking bribe by a Tehelka-led sting operation.
Jana Krishnamurthi (2001-02)
He became the acting President for a short period after Laxman's resignation.
Venkaiah Naidu (2002-04)
After Krishnamurthi was inducted into Vajpayee's cabinet, Venkaiah Naidu was elected as the BJP President. His elevation was seen as party's patriarch LK Advani regaining control with Hindu-nationalist inclination. He resigned after NDA lost Lok Sabha Election in 2004.
Rajnath Singh (2005-09 and 2013-14)
Rajnath Singh completed the remaining term of LK Advani in 2005 and was later elected as full-time party President. He held multiple positions in BJP and RSS, including the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. In his second term, he played a vital role in the elevation of Narendra Modi as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.
Nitin Gadkari (2009-13)
Gadkari became the youngest President of BJP in 2009 and had strong support from the leadership of RSS. He later resigned over the allegation of corruption during his tenure as minister in Maharashtra Government.
Amit Shah (2014-20)
Perhaps the most successful BJP president when it comes to winning the election, a close Modi confidant, his election demonstrated the latter's grip on the party. He was made UP in charge for the 2014 General election where BJP won 73 out of 80 seats. Later, he led his party to a spectacular victory in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. He resigned after taking over as Home Minister of India in 2019.