Modi aide Shah new BJP PresidentNew Delhi: After weeks of speculation, Amit Shah, a loyalist of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was named new president of India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

PM Modi, who counts the 49-year-old Shah amongst his closest confidants, said Shah’s elevation would help the BJP to further expand its influence across the country.

Referring to him as “Amit Bhai”, Modi said the former minister of state for home in Gujarat took to politics “as an ordinary worker and has repeatedly proven himself through tireless hard work and determination”.

Presently a general secretary, Shah succeeds Rajnath Singh, the home minister in Modi’s government who made the widely anticipated announcement about Shah after a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board.

Once this was done, a beaming Shah accepted sweets and bouquets from party colleagues including Modi, Rajnath Singh, L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.