Updated on: Thursday, December 02, 2021, 12:15 AM IST

JP Nadda Birthday special: The Rise and rise of BJP national president




The somber and muffled central leader of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), known for his organizational skills has only risen in his ranks in the saffron camp. Jagat Prakash Nadda, is a man known generally to maintain a low profile, but that has not stopped his ascent to the top in the boisterous world of Indian politics as he took over as the president of India’s ruling BJP last year.

The now 61-year-old was unanimously elected the new president last year in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and several chief ministers of BJP-ruled states.

The BJP leader started his political career with the ABVP in Patna where his father was serving as the vice-chancellor of the Patna University.

Underneath a soft exterior, Nadda hides a doughty perseverance, an unflinching commitment to ideology and shrewd organizational skills that have ensured his rise, say party leaders who have seen him over the years.

Given his leadership skills and managerial skills, he was able to defeat the Students Federation of India (SFI) in the HPU and he went on to become the student’s union president. He remained the national general secretary of the ABVP from 1986 to 1989. He was politically groomed in Bihar with the Jai Prakash Narayana movement.

Then, he was appointed as the president of the BJP’s youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in 1991 at the age of 31. He first entered the electoral politics by winning the HP assembly seat from Bilaspur and was made the Leader of Opposition in the assembly.

He was subsequently re-elected from the Bilaspur seat in 1998 and was made the health minister in the Prem Kumar Dhumal government. Once again, in the Prem Kumar Dhumal’s government in 2007, he became the Minister of Forest, Environment, Science, and Technology for a brief stint of 2 years from 2008-2010.

In 2010, Jagat Prakash Nadda quit Prem Kumar Dhumal's ministry following his appointment as BJP general secretary. In fact, Nadda had stepped down as a forest minister owing to his differences with CM Dhumal. Come 2012, and he was chosen unopposed as the Rajya Sabha member from Himachal Pradesh.

In 2014, during a cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made him the Minister of Health.

For the 2019 general elections, he was given the charge to maintain the BJP’s election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, where the party faced a tough challenge from the alliance of Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). He was made a member of the BJP parliamentary board — the highest decision-making body of the party and also a member of the central election committee that takes final decision for both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Given his reputation and his skills among his peers, many had predicted that Nadda could get something ‘important’ this time, given he was not selected by Modi for the Union Cabinet.

Nadda is not a very ambitious man. “A laid-back pahari”, he is referred to in political circles. Moreover, the decision of his elevation gave a leverage to the party to include Anurag Thakur into the PM’s cabinet. This also ensured that Himachal Pradesh didn’t go unrepresented in the government, and the power equations in the state continue to be balanced.​

Jagat Prakash Nadda was born on 2nd December 1960 to a Brahmin family in Patna. His father Dr. Narain Lall Nadda was a Vice-Chancellor of the Ranchi University. His wife, Dr Mallika Nadda, is a professor at the Himachal Pradesh University. He was educated at St. Xavier's School, Patna. Thereafter he did his B.A. from Patna College, Patna University and LL.B. from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. As a child, he represented Bihar State in the All India Junior Swimming Championship held at Delhi.

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Published on: Thursday, December 02, 2021, 12:15 AM IST