BJP leader Jagat Prakash Nadda was on Monday (January 20) elected unopposed as the party’s national president. He took over the reins from Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who served in the top position for the past five-and-a-half years, a tenure that saw the party turn into formidable election-winning machinery despite occasional setbacks.
Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, the 59-year-old leader is seen as an affable and low-key politician who enjoys the trust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP. He is largely expected to continue with the course it took under Shah with Modi laying out the broader agenda.
Nadda’s rise to the top rank comes right ahead of Delhi assembly election, which is going to be his first challenge as the party chief. He has been touring the capital extensively as the BJP works overtime to oust the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) from power.
BJP leader Radha Mohan Singh, who was the in-charge of the organisational election process, made the announcement of Nadda’s election as the party’s 11th president after he emerged as the only nominee in the fray.
Modi later arrived at the party headquarters to felicitate the newly-elected president at a ceremony that was attended by members of the BJP parliamentary board, its highest body, and veterans like LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.
Earlier, Shah was joined by senior party leaders, including Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, besides several functionaries from state units in filing nominations in support of Nadda. BJP chief ministers like Yogi Adityanath of Uttar Pradesh and Vijay Rupani of Gujarat were also at the party headquarters to endorse his bid.
Modi described Nadda as an old colleague and recalled how they used to ride scooter together for party work. He also congratulated Nadda on his election as BJP president, and described him as a dedicated and disciplined leader known for his affable nature.
Nadda’s elevation was on expected lines since his appointment as the BJP working president last June after Shah joined the Modi government as the home minister. The BJP has traditionally abided by the norm of ‘one party one post’. BJP leaders hailed the appointment, expressing confidence that the party would achieve new successes under his leadership.
Shah congratulated Nadda and expressed confidence that under the new BJP president and the guidance of Modi, the party will scale new heights of success and grow from strength to strength. Gadkari said the elevation of Nadda, who started as a common party worker and rose through its ranks, shows that the BJP was an organisation of workers unlike parties run by dynasties.
Wishing Nadda a successful tenure, Rajnath Singh said, “I am confident the party will achieve new glory and success under his leadership. Known for his organisational experience Naddaji has always been an asset to the party.” Nadda, considered an affable and accessible politician, enjoys good rapport with all top party leaders.
Nadda is seen as seasoned organisation man, who was associated with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) from his college days before joining the youth wing of the BJP and rising through its ranks. He has also served as a minister in the BJP governments in Himachal Pradesh and at the Centre.
He has also been in charge of his party’s campaigns in a number of states, including in Uttar Pradesh during the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
(With inputs from agencies)