CHANDIGARH: A low profile leader from Himachal Pradesh who was born in Patna, 58-year-old Jagat Prakash Nadda's rise to become BJP working president has been nothing short of meteoric.
In 1977, he became secretary of Patna University after student elections and then came back to Himachal Pradesh to pursue his higher studies. He studied law in Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) and also got enrolled in the ABVP.
Then in 1984, he became the student union president in HPU, defeating the nominee of the Students Federation of India (SFI). He also remained the ABVP’s national general secretary from 1986 to 1989. He holds a postgraduate degree in political science and an LL.B. degree.
Nadda’s wife is presently working as a professor at HPU, while his father NL Nadda was Vice-Chancellor of Patna University.
The former Union health minister has his roots in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and has carved out his own space in national politics with his shrewd organisational skills. He scripted the saffron party’s stupendous show in Uttar Pradesh by working as a back-room leader.
He has been active on the national political scene since 2010 when he was picked by then BJP chief Nitin Gadkari to join his new team. He was then made the party's national General Secretary. Earlier he had worked with both Gadkari and Shah in the Bharatiya Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP, from 1991 to 1994.
Nadda was forced to resign as Himachal Pradesh Forest Minister in 2010 owing to differences with then Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. In 2012 he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and in 2014 he became a Union minister in the Modi Government. He was re-elected to the upper house in 2018. He is a member of the BJP's parliamentary board, the highest decision-making body of the party, and is also a member of its central election committee.
He won his first assembly election from Bilaspur (Sadar) in Himachal in 1993. He retained the seat five years later and became the state Health Minister. But in 2003 he lost the assembly election before winning again in 2007 and becoming the Forest Minister.
Nadda was the brain behind the opening of forest police stations to check forest crimes, launching of community-driven plantation drives, setting up of forest ponds and the massive plantation of deodars to boost the depleting green cover.