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The BJP, as expected, has decided to retain Amit Shah as party president and go to 2019 Lok Sabha elections under his leadership, deferring the organisational elections, said media reports.

The decision was reportedly taken at the party’s national executive which got underway in the national capital on Saturday, September 8.The meeting, earlier slated for August, was postponed following the demise of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Shah’s present term was scheduled to end in January 2019. Shah had replaced Rajnath Singh as party president in August 2014 after the latter joined the Narendra Modi government as Home Minister. Shah completed Singh’s remaining three-year term. He got his first full three-year term in January 2016.

As per the BJP constitution, a person can get two full three-year terms as party president.

Inaugurating the meeting, Amit Shah said the BJP will return to power next year with a bigger victory than 2014, when it won a majority in Lok Sabha on its own for the very first time.

The party’s national office bearers, presidents of its state units, senior leaders and party workers are participating in the meeting which aims to discuss the BJP’s preparations ahead of elections in four states and the national election next year.

A slogan of ‘Ajeya BJP’ (Invincible BJP) was adopted at the meeting. They pledged to work for the party’s victory in Assembly polls in five states. The meet decided to give extra emphasis on the elections in Telangana, which is likely to go the polls with states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The issues of the National Register of Citizens will also come up for discussion at the national executive meet, said sources in the party. PM Modi’s pro-poor programmes focusing on “social justice”, the hike in the Minimum Support Price for a number of farm produce and the rise in the economic growth in the last quarter to 8.2 per cent will also be discussed, said a NDTV report citing party sources.

The national executive will be closely watched for political messaging by top party leadership to manage caste calculations ahead of the Assembly elections. Amendments in law effected to restore stringent bail provisions in the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act triggered protests by BJP’s core constituency of upper castes in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar earlier this week.

The government had brought amendments in Parliament to nullify a Supreme Court order, which some NDA allies and MPs alleged had watered down the law framed in 1989. Protests in the first week of April by SC-ST groups against the court ruling had led to large-scale violence in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the national executive on Sunday afternoon.

The BJP is focusing on highlighting the centre’s steps for “social justice” and “economic successes” besides its schemes for the poor.

In a bid to reach out to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the party has chosen the Ambedkar International Centre, as the venue of the meeting. “There has been an attempt to create confusion regarding SC/ST issue, but that won’t cause any impact on 2019 elections,” Shah told the office bearers, reported news agency ANI.

In the face of upper caste unrest, as a balancing act, the venue for the national executive has been named Atal Sthal after the late party patriarch, reported News18. Banners and posters with Vajpayee’s photos have been put up paying homage to the first non-Congress prime minister to complete a full term in office.

The party is likely to pass three resolutions in the executive, laying emphasis on the current political situation in the country and will prominently highlight schemes and programmes of the Modi government.

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