BJP’s New National President
Jagat Prakash Nadda has many FIRSTs
By Amba Charan Vashishth
The new unanimously elected 11th National President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which came into being on April 6, 1980 forty years ago, Shri Jagat Prskasdh Nadda has many firsts to his credit.
He is the first person from Himachal Pradesh to occupy the coveted office of the National President of a national political organization. Earlier, he was the first Working national president since June 2019. He was the first national general secretary and first member of the BJP Parliamentary Board from Himachal. In 1991 he became the person to become President of the BJP Yuva Morcha.
In 1993, he contested the Himachal Assembly election for the first time and won although the BJP lost heavily and could win only 7 seats. He also became the first person to have won the election for the first time and further elected the leader of the BJP Legislature Party in Himachal Vidhan Sabha.
Born on December 2, 1960 at Patna (Bihar) to Shri N. L. Nadda and Shrimati Krishna, Nadda had his schooling in St. Xaviers School, Patna. He had his graduation from Patna University. But he got his Degree in Law from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. As a child, he represented Bihar State by participating in the All India Junior Swimming Championship held in Delhi that ignited in him the sportsman spirit.
His father was an academician who later became the Vice-chancellor of Patna University. Born and brought up in a non-political family, himself a JP (Jagat Prakash), he got fascinated by the Sampuran Kranti (Total Revolution) launched by JP (Jaya Prakash) Narain in 1973. He “was inspired by the JP Movement to join the Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti”. That was his initiation into politics at the age of 13 as a student. He was detained for 45 days for leading a campaign for upgrading schools. Later, he got associated with the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student wing of RSS.
He earned his name in the ABVP for his organizational acumen, devotion and commitment. A senior colleague narrated that Shri Nadda was given an assignment in AVBP for which he got so much devoted that he didn’t go home for 6-7 days. The family had no knowledge where he was. Worried his father came searching for him in ABVP office at night. He was astonished to find his son Nadda sleeping on just a bedsheet on the floor.
On 11 December, 1991Shri Nadda married Dr. Mallika, daughter of Smt. Jayshree Banerjee a former Lok Sabha member. This further strengthened his roots in national politics.
In 1991, Shri Nadda was made the national President of BJP Yuva Morcha. Two years later, to infuse fresh blood in the State politics he was asked to contest his home constituency of Bilaspur for the Himachal Vidhan Sabha.
In 1998 he was inducted as a cabinet minister in Prem Kumar Dhumal’s BJP government with the charge of Health and Family Welfare portfolio. In December 2007 he was made Cabinet Minister for Forest, Environment, Science and Technology, Government of Himachal Pradesh in Shri Prem Kumar’s second term as Chief Minister. It was during this period that the forest cover in the State recorded an impressive expansion.
His qualities of head and heart and organizational skills attracted the eye of the then BJP National President Shri Nitin Gadkari who in 2010 assigned him the onerous duty as BJP’s national General Secretary. He gladly preferred to quit the Himachal cabinet and serve the party organisation.
In 2012 he was elected as a Member of Rajya Sabha.
In 2014 after BJP under Shri Narendra Modi romped home with absolute majority, a first non-Congress political party to do so in 72 years of India’s independence, his name cropped up for the post of BJP President vacated by Shri Rajnath Singh who was made the Union Home Minister. But Shri Modi inducted Shri Nadda as Health Minister and Shri Amit Shah who was instrumental in BJP winning 73 of the 80 seats in UP was made the national President.
In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Shri Nadda was in charge of UP. It was because of his skills and electoral strategy that BJP won 64 out of 80 seats, belying negative reports of election result predictors.
During the last organizational membership drive under Shri Amit Shah BJP earned the rare distinction of being the world’s largest political organization. In 2019 Shri Amit Shah was elected to the Lok Sabha from Gujarat. Shri Modi inducted Shri Shah into his cabinet as Home Minister. In keeping with party’s policy of one-man one post, Shri Nadda was in June 2019 made the Working President of the party.
On the conclusion of the BJP’s organizational elections during which the party increased its membership by another more than 8 crore members, Shri J. P. Nadda was unanimously elected as the National President. On January 22 he became the President of the world’s largest political organization.
At the time of felicitating Shri Nadda, both PM Narinder Modi and outgoing Party President Shri Amit expressed confidence that under Shri Nadda BJP will continue to rise and conquer greater and greater heights.
Shri Modi recalled his association with Shri Nadda when they both travelled on a two-wheeler scooter while working for the organization. He said while being in charge of the Himachal BJP, he had the chance to work with Shri Nadda closely. He had great potential, Shri Modi recognized.
Speaker after speaker at the function stressed that BJP was a political organization with a difference. It is the only party where an ordinary but devoted party worker could be the party’s national president and a prime minister. Here, they said, dynasty had no meaning.
Shri Nadda is recognized as a soft-spoken leader who is very accessible to the common party karyakarta. He shuns limelight. He is satisfied being the man behind the machine. Yet he is a hard task master when it comes to implementing party decisions and achieving targets.
His wife Mallika, a college teacher of history, is the person behind the man in the proverbial sense of “a woman behind a successful man”. She recognizes that with Shri Nadda’s rise in politics there has always been simultaneous less time he could devote to the family. But she and the children are equally appreciative of him. They recognize and go by the BJP’s philosophy: Nation first, party second and person and family the last. They are fully determined to do everything to help him reach the citadel of glory for the party. ***
The writer is a Delhi-based political commentator.
(Courtesy the weekly Organiser)