J P Nadda, the BJP's Mr Suitable
New working president Nadda is known in BJP circles as a person who is “not ambitious”. He keeps his cool even when things that seemed within his grasp go out of hand.
Persistence and patience. This is what makes Jagat Prakash Nadda a suitable person for the post of the BJP's working president at a time when the Shah-Modi duo is in complete control of both party and government.
Nadda is known in party circles as a person who is “not ambitious”. He keeps his cool even when things which seem within his grasp go out of hand.
Born to a university vice-chancellor and an alumnus of St Xavier’s School, Patna, he had an early stint in student politics during the Emergency of 1975-77. He moved to Shimla in the early 80s to pursue his higher studies. Here, he dismantled the monopoly of the CPI(M)-supported student body SFI and became the first Himachal Pradesh University students' union president from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the RSS’ student affiliate, in the year 1984.
He was brought to Delhi from Himachal Pradesh as party general secretary when Nitin Gadkari took over as party president in 2010 and was groomed for higher responsibilities. He promptly shifted to the capital from Himachal Pradesh, where he was a minister. The switch was in part aimed at avoiding clashes between Nadda and then Chief Minister of the hill state, Prem Kumar Dhumal. Nadda patiently assumed the new responsibility.
In 2014, after the spectacular win of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, he was being tipped to be the next BJP chief but Amit Shah, a junior in the party, was paradropped to take over the reins. Nadda was adjusted as a cabinet minister in the Modi government a few months later.
He was close to becoming the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister in 2017 when his arch rival Prem Kumar Dhumal, who was projected as the CM candidate, lost his election. Nadda kept his patience and persistently worked on his designated responsibilities when Jairam Thakur was appointed to the post, owing to caste equations.
Nadda’s persistent style was on display -- even while working in Amit Shah’s team -- when he made it a point to deliver the best results in the Uttar Pradesh Lok Sabha polls as the party incharge for the state.
On the day of the swearing-in of the Modi government for the second time, media circle were abuzz with speculations that Nadda would take over as party president. The reason: Nadda's accompanying Amit Shah and Narendra Modi to Raj Ghat to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and later Atal Bihari Vajpayee was interpreted as a sign of his elevation. The evening function in Rashtrapati Bhawan was also symbolic. A reclusive Nadda was not designated to sit with the ministers to be sworn in but was in the front seat in the most prominent place. Days went by but no announcement took place.
On Monday, after the BJP’s Parliamentary party meeting, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced the name of Nadda as the working president of the BJP. The prefixed designation of ‘working’ is unlikely to bother Nadda, who is the most suitable person within the party to take up this ad hoc position. His patience will be put to test once more, as he has to work under Modi and Shah, who have the organisation and government fully under their control.