Amit Shah, Narendra Modi's Trusted Aide, May Be Named BJP Chief Today

 Amit Shah, a close associate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, could be named the new president of the BJP today after a meeting of the top decision-makers of the ruling party, called the parliamentary board. 

The board meets this morning to firm up the BJP's parliamentary strategy for the five-week Budget session that began on Monday.  

With assembly elections due in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, sources said, Mr Shah had emerged the front-runner vis-a-vis colleagues such as JP Nadda and Om Prakash Mathur.

Mr Shah, 50, if picked for the post, will succeed Rajnath Singh, now the Home Minister in the union government. With several other BJP office-bearers now ministers, a major organisational revamp is on the cards.

In the national elections in May this year, Mr Shah engineered a massive victory for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, India's largest state, delivering 71 of the state's 80 parliamentary seats. 

When Mr Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr Shah served as his Home Minister, but had to resign in 2010 after he was alleged to have sanctioned a fake encounter by the state police, which saw three Muslims being killed by officers who alleged they were terrorists planning to assassinate Mr Modi. 

Mr Shah faces murder charges for allegedly allowing the extra-judicial killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a small-time criminal, his wife and a witness.

Currently a general secretary of the BJP, Mr Shah says the murder charges are a political conspiracy.

During the campaign for the national election, Mr Shah was banned by the powerful Election Commission from rallies and speeches after it found him guilty of delivering "hate speeches" designed to promote "hatred and ill will" between religions. 

The ban was lifted after Mr Shah vowed in writing that he would not "use abusive or derogatory language in the campaign". 

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