Who is JP Nadda, the new BJP national president?

BJP President JP Nadda

BJP President JP Nadda | Photo Credit: PTI

For J.P. Nadda, 59, being elected the eleventh president of the BJP tops off a steady rise that began with student politics with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) the student wing of the RSS, to State politics in Himachal Pradesh and finally, from 2010, an important stint in national politics.


Born to Krishna and Narain Lall Nadda, on December 2, 1960, he did his early schooling from St Xavier’s Patna as well as getting his graduation degree from Patna College, Patna University. He got involved with the ABVP while in Patna and continued this association with the organisation when he and his family moved back to their native Himachal Pradesh after the senior Mr. Nadda retired from Patna University.

Here, Mr. Nadda enrolled for a law degree from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, and remained active in student politics, becoming the first ever ABVP nominated president of the student’s union there.

His organisational skills were recognised and he moved from State to a more centrally back organisational role as organisational general secretary for the ABVP in Delhi between 1985-89. These were heady days for not just student movements but also for the BJP which was coming out of a bad performance in the Lok Sabha polls of 1985 to raising the pitch for the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya. Mr. Nadda’s stint in Delhi helped him fight his first Assembly polls in 1993, in all he has won three Assembly polls and has been minister twice in the Himachal government.

It was however in 2010, when Union Minister Nitin Gadkari was party president that he got his big break in the organisation. Mr. Gadkari, a contemporary of Mr. Nadda, gave his old friend a break when he put together his team as president, making him first national general secretary and later getting him elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2012.

He was made a minister in the first Modi government but returned to organisational work in the second run of the government. His role as the election in-charge for Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 polls was much appreciated and he managed to hammer out a valued, trust worthy space for himself in the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah equation soon. This resulted in him being made BJP’s first working president ever in June 2019, the understanding being that he would be made president once Mr Shah’s tenure ends, as it did in January 2020.

For Mr. Nadda, not only is the role of the third wheel in the Modi-Shah equation going to be a tightrope walk, but it will also be tough to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, Mr. Shah, whose control over the party organisation and meticulous electoral planning have acquired legendary proportions. The fact that he faces two tough polls immediately after taking over, in Delhi and Bihar, is significant. The BJP hopes his smooth rise to the top post in the party may be a harbinger of as smooth a tenure there.

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Printable version | Feb 13, 2022 7:31:54 am |