LUCKNOW: They say that the road to the corridors of power in Delhi passes through Uttar Pradesh. The state has the distinction of gifting the maximum number of Prime Ministers to the country. Even the current incumbent represents Varanasi in Parliament.
Call it another curious distinction or a mere coincidence but UP has been playing a significant role in the selection or election of the national president of the BJP, the world’s largest political organisation, for the last three terms.
The selection of JP Nadda as BJP’s officiating president reinforces this trend. First, it was Amit Shah and now Nadda. Shah was helming UP as in-charge of party affairs in 2014 before taking up the reins of the party as its national president in 2014. Before Shah, Rajnath Singh was the BJP president.
Shah proved his leadership skills and turned the tables in favour of the BJP which registered a record win by bagging 73 of the 80 LS seats for the party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The mammoth mandate in the 2017 Assembly polls in UP added another feather to Shah’s cap.
Even the 2019 mandate can be attributed largely to Shah as party chief but the role played by Nadda as UP election in-charge has been equally important. Under his leadership, the party neutralised the formidable challenge of the SP-BSP alliance based on caste arithmetic by winning 64 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats along with ally Apna Dal. The UP performance helped him rise through the ranks and reach the top.
The party’s remarkable performance in UP established Nadda as an organisational hand capable of delivering under pressure and in hostile conditions. The triumphs of Amethi and Kannauj, which Nadda had predicted beforehand through the poll phases, proved his political acumen and leadership attributes which catapulted him into being elevated to the prestigious assignment given to him by the party’s powerful parliamentary board.
A senior BJP functionary from Himachal and media in-charge Manish Dikshit says that Nadda is a workaholic. “He works till late in the night. He gives a patient hearing to party workers and has the capability of giving immediate solutions to their problems,” says Dikshit.
During his stint as party’s election in-charge of the state, Nadda along with organisational secretary Sunil Bansal covered almost 70 Lok Sabha constituencies, holding meetings with workers, giving victory tips to them and executing the party strategy on the ground.
“The challenged posed by the SP-BSP alliance was formidable enough to make the BJP workers jittery as the caste arithmetic was backing the regional tie-up. Though the cadre had full faith in PM Modi’s charisma, the caste arithmetic was unnerving. It was Nadda who convinced the party workforce through a series of workers’ meets and inculcated confidence in them,” another BJP leader said.
Nadda, an RS MP, who played Shah’s eyes and ears in UP during the 2019 big battle, is believed to be the RSS' choice to replace Shah formally after the party’s membership drive and organisational polls are over by the end of the year.
Shah will continue as the BJP president till Nadda is formally elected to the post.