JP Nadda is the new BJP president

A close confidant of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister, Amit Shah, J.P.Nadda has taken over the reins of the Bharatiya Janta Party from Shah who is credited with expanding footprints of the saffron party across the country. Nadda, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, has been the president of both BJP’s and youth units, apart from being a minister at the Center and in the state. For Nadda, who has been the working president of BJP for the last few months, the post of president is full of challenges. An analysis by Rakesh Rocky

Jagat Prakash Nadda has become the new president of the BJP. Nadda, who has reached the party’s top position due to sheer hard work, faces many challenges. The way the BJP has lost some important states in the last months, the challenge in front of Nadda becomes even greater. The party will have high hopes from this veteran strategist to brighten up party’s fortunes in upcoming elections to Delhi and Bihar state assemblies.

Nadda, has taken over the reins of BJP from Amit Shah, who steered party to greater heights. However, of late the BJP has seen some drubbning in few States. Naturally, Nadda has big responsibility on his shoulders. He has been close to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Both are confident and convinced of Nadda’s strategic capabilities, which later has also proved from time to time. Little doubt this has led Nadda to reach top echelons of party.

Before the Lok Sabha elections last year, when he was entrusted with the responsibility of a very important state like Uttar Pradesh, he had faced a big challenge. Two strong parties Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party had joined hands on the eve of elections. Nadda weaved a BJP strategy based on ground reality and brought the magic results. Many leaders in BJP consider it was possible only because of Nadda’s organizational capacity.

In 2010, he became the National General Secretary of the BJP. During this time he was in charge of several states including Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. In 2012, he was elected as a Rajya Sabha member while in 2014 Nadda was appointed Secretary of BJP Central Parliamentary Board.

Challenges before Nadda

He has been an achiever in the BJP but now faces a daunting task. Nadda now has a very challenging responsibility of running the organization across the country. Although the BJP may still be the largest political party in the country, but the party has lost last few assembly elections in states. The BJP was considered invincible till two years ago but it lost the Midas touch during couple of years, it seems. In Haryana, where the BJP formed the government only three months back, it had to make Jannayak Janta Party as partner in power as it lacked majority of its own. In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, joined hands with its most vocal critic like the Congress. Later, in Jharkhand too, the BJP had to face a humiliating defeat. Indeed, it would be a big challenge before the BJP to manage its allies. In the last few months, BJP has lost big allies including TDP and Shiv Sena. Many of BJP leaders have differing views on issues like NRC and some are expressing their displeasure over it.

In Bihar, where assembly elections are due later this year, JDU the partner in the government is raising questions about BJP’s recent decisions. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar himself has clearly stated that NRC will not be implemented in any form in Bihar. Nitish’s close aide Prashant Kishore is seen to be openly standing against BJP’s policies. Their opposition is akin to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s opposition to CAA, NRP and NRC. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been supporting the Modi government in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on some issues, is against NRC etc.

The Chief Ministers of Congress ruled states and other parties are strongly opposing the new legislations. In such a scenario, there will be a piquant situation before the BJP to get the Bills passed in the Rajya Sabha in the coming days. Nadda himself is a member of the Rajya Sabha, so he will have a big responsibility to form a strong strategy to keep the party’s allies together.

The Congress is still the biggest political opponent of the BJP. Even though the BJP had given the slogan of “Congress-mukt Bharat”, it is proving wrong over time. In the last one year, the Congress has formed its government in three states, while in Maharashtra and Jharkhand it has become a part of the government with allies. The BJP has lost all these states. In Delhi too, the biggest challenge is facing the BJP, in such a situation, the challenges of Nadda are really huge.

At one time, the Congress had so weak in states as an organization and had started losing seats in the Lok Sabha elections as well. The BJP can’t afford to  allow slide in its popularity and winnability. Nadda will have to keep a sharp eye on it. He will have to get out of the comfort zone and listen to the workers at the lower level. In Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, BJP’s chief ministerial selection has raised questions.

Despite declaring Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister in Maharashtra, the party’s seats fell in the assembly elections.

The party also lost its government. Fadnavis was sworn in with NCP leader Ajit Pawar without ensuring majority. This has given a big blow to the party’s image.

Another important thing is to decide the Chief Minister in the states. In Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, BJP’s chief ministerial selection has not been of much benefit to the party. Despite declaring Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister in Maharashtra, the party’s seats fell in the assembly elections.

The party also lost its government. Fadnavis was sworn in with NCP leader Ajit Pawar without majority. This has given a big blow to the party’s image.

The BJP suffered a major setback in Jharkhand where Raghubar Das was the chief minsiter, when it lost power.

All this proves, that the new BJP president will face a big challenge to find faces who can make the party successful in the upcoming elections.

In Maharashtra, Fadnavis is now increasingly being accused that he left no stone unturned to weaken the Maratha leaders in the state. State BJP president Chandrakant Patil recently said that the “party culture of standing by loyalists was diluted due to the influx of leaders from other parties”.

Remote control in Delhi

It is now being realized in BJP that the politics of the party is being run like a remote from Delhi. That is, the remote to run the organization has become in Delhi. Due to this, the leaders of states are becoming weaker.

No matter how big the BJP talks about internal democracy, the truth is that BJP politics is gradually becoming centralized. Nadda must bring the BJP out of this.

As Nadda is not a minister like Shah, he will be able to give the organization full time. Congress was also weakened in the states due to “remote” from Delhi.

The BJP will definitely have to avoid it and ensure that it is not exclusively and completely dependent on the two leaders Modi and Shah.

About Personal life

Birth: 2 December, 1960

Place of Birth: Patna (Bihar)

Father: Dr Narayan Lal Nadda Mother: Krishna Nadda (late)

Marriage: December 11, 1991

Wife: Mallika Nadda (social worker)

Education: BA, LLB

Elementary Education: St. Xavier’s School, Patna

College: Patna College

LLB: HPU, Shimla

BJP Presidents before JP Nadda

Atal Behari Vajpayee was the first President of the BJP upon its formation in year 1980. Vajpayee became the Prime Minister of India and his government lasted full term. He is regarded as the moderate face of the BJP. He is also credited with catapulting BJP as the centrist party that had moved away from the strident politics of the saffron party then named as Bharatiya Jana Sangh.

Lal Krishan Advani succeeded Atal Bihari Vajapyee as BJP President in 1986. Advani had earlier served as President of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1973. During Advani’s time, the BJP saw a shift in its ideology from a moderate party to a party focussing on Hindutva. His aggressive campaigning helped the BJP become the largest party in Lok Sabha. He also became Deputy Prime Minister. The Rath Yatra brought out by Advani in 1990 adopted hardline approach. He became party president for the second tenure. He also became BJP President for the third time after Venkaiah Naidu resigned after 2004 elections.

Murli Manohar Joshi became BJP President in 1991 replacing Lal Krishan Advani. He had been associated with RSS for almost five decades before becoming president of the BJP. He had played a key role in the Ram Janambhoomi agitation. It was during his tenure as party President that for the first time, the BJP became the principal opposition party.

Kushabhau Thakre was elected President of the BJP on 14 April 1998. He had been associated with the RSS since 1942. When the BJP was formed in 1980, he was appointed as a Secretary and in charge of Gujarat, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh states before his elevation as party president.

Bangaru Laxman was the first Dalit president of the BJP. At the age of 12, in 1953, he had joined the RSS and held several organizational responsibilities and became active member of Jan Sangh in 1969. He served in the Council of Ministers as Minister of State for Planning, Statistics and Programme Implementation from October- November 1999 and Ministry of Railway from November 1999 to August 2000.

Jana Krishnamurthi became BJP president in 2001 upon the resignation of Bangaru Laxman and held office till 2002. He resigned a year later when he was inducted as a minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet. He was an active member of the Parliament Standing Committees on External Affairs and Defence. He was also the Chairman of the Petitions Committee. His tenure will be remembered for his frank and forthright report on Petrol Adulteration. Earlier he had set up the Intellectual Cells of the BJP on Economic, Defence and Foreign Affairs. From 1995 onwards he was in charge of the BJP Headquarters and functioned as Spokesperson for the party.

Venkaiah Naidu, currently Vice President of India, remained BJP president from 2002 to 2004.  He has served as the Minister of Housing and Poverty Alleviation, Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting. A brilliant orator, he played important role in Jai Andhra Movement of 1972 and in 1974, became the convener of the Jayaprakash Narayan anti-corruption Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti of Andhra Pradesh.

Rajnath Singh served as president of BJP twice, 2005 to 2009 and 2013 to 2014. He had assumed office of BJP President in December 2005 for the remainder of L.K. Advani’s term. He was reappointed for a full term in 2006. Singh had held many positions for the RSS and the BJP, including serving as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the President of the BJP’s Youth Singh. He advocated a return to a Hindutva platform. He had announced commitment to building Ram Temple at Ayodhya and had the role of the English language in India, claiming that most of Indian population is unable to participate in Indian economy and cultural discourse due to extreme preferences shown to English at the expense of native languages. He remained Union Home Minister in first tenure of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and became the Union Defence Minister of India from May 31, 2019.

Nitin Gadkari became president of the BJP in 2009 and continued till 2013. He was the youngest President of the BJP in 2009. He enjoyed strong support from the RSS. Gadkari strongly supported privatization and campaigned for investments in infrastructure sector by private sector. He stepped down in 2013. As party president, Gadkari, re-emphasized on legendary Jan Sangh leader Deen Dayal Upadhya’s principles of integral humanism and Antyodaya or upliftment of the poor. Nitin Gadkari was born into a Marathi Deshastha Brahmin family in Nagpur, India to Jairam Gadkari and Bhanutai Gadkari. During his adolescence, he worked for the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and the student union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.