NEW DELHI: Sticking to the one man, one post norm, the BJP on Monday passed the party’s leadership baton to former Union minister Jagat Prakash Nadda after incumbent Amit Shah joined the Narendra Modi Cabinet as Minister for Home Affairs. In its brief meeting, the BJP Parliamentary Board selected Nadda (58), a Brahmin, as its working president.
This is the first time the BJP has named a working president. Nadda is likely to assume full leadership of the party upon the conclusion of organisational elections within the BJP, which is expected to begin in August and be wrapped up in two months. Till then, Shah will continue to be the BJP president. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Nadda as “a diligent karyakarta (worker)...Humble and affable, he is widely respected across the BJP family.”
Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, Nadda has an RSS pedigree, having spent his initial years as an activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Nadda’s omission from the Modi 2.0 ministry was indication enough of him being the chosen one at the party’s apex. Sources said Nadda held extensive parleys with Union minister Nitin Gadkari a few days ago before he left for Nagpur, the headquarters of the RSS, amidst speculation that Shah could hand-pick party general secretary Bhupendra Yadav as his successor.
Just like Shah, Nadda had to pass the test of fire in Uttar Pradesh, before getting the prized post. For, he was appointed in charge for UP before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While Shah delivered a whopping 71 Lok Sabha seats to the BJP’s kitty from UP, Nadda managed 62 in an election that was arguably more challenging than 2014 on account of the SP-BSP-RLD grand alliance.
By picking Nadda, a Brahmin, the BJP has sought to maintain a fine caste balance. “After the exit of Kalraj Mishra from the council of ministers, the BJP lacked a Brahmin at the top within the party and the govt. Nadda promises to cement the BJP’s hold on the upper castes,” said a senior BJP functionary