PATNA: As he prepares to take charge of the most powerful political party currently — the BJP — on Monday, a small circle of friends of J P Nadda in Patna are celebrating.
It was in Patna that Nadda was born on December 2, 1960, and his childhood friends, school mates and peers in Patna University say they have so much to recall about this ‘mild-mannered’, ‘affable’ man who treasured his friends.
Nadda studied in the prestigious St Xavier's Convent “where he showed his mettle being at the forefront of activities which needed some organisation,” recalls Sajjan Boobna, a businessman and his senior.
“He was interested in everything while being a good student. He never said no to anyone,” said Anil Sharma, senior BJP leader, who recalled him as a ‘zabardast orator’, adept at ‘multi-tasking’ and a born organiser who could take everyone along.
“I am not surprised where he is now,” said Sharma, himself a Patna University Students Union president.
Nadda was impressed by Jayaprakash Narayan’s Sampoorna Kranti and participated in the 1974 students movement, and then went on to win the university election in 1977 to become the students union secretary as BVP nominee.
Suresh Kumar Rungta, the businessman, recalls Nadda as “a warm, forceful and easily forgiving personality”, who in a short time came to be admired as a student leader. “He had clarity and a wise opinion when one was needed. He kept away from confrontations,” said Rungta.
His father NL Nadda who was a professor in the Department of Commerce and rose to be Ranchi University V-C, had seen his interest in politics very early and advised him to “be a people’s politician, not a poster one,” Nadda had once recalled to a friend.
He was a sportsperson too, recalled some while talking of his swimming talent which helped him represent Bihar.
Once during electioneering in Bihar, Nadda had confided to this correspondent saying,
“A politician who can read people’s pulse can never be rejected. To help people, the problems have to be diagnosed well. That’s what I intend to do.”
A worker at St Xavier’s, Mohan Kumar, remembered how Nadda would delve into books.
“He was a voracious reader and always wanted to know more.”Rajendra Gupta, a senior teacher in College of Commerce in Patna and a family friend said, “He was all ears to the people...He was a student of political science then and resided at Raniganj teachers quarters.”
Married to Mallika Nadda, a professor of history at Himachal Pradesh University and daughter of Lok Sabha MP from Jabalpur, Jayshree Banerjee, Nadda has one brother and three sisters.
A person who is rooted, Nadda has never failed to attend the St Xaviers’ annual alumni meet, recalls Dr Amulya Singh, an orthopaedist.
Scaling the heights in party hierarchy
Jagat Prakash Nadda was born in Patna into a Brahmin family from Himachal Pradesh.
He studied in St Xavier’s Convent in Patna and then Patna University, where he was elected students union secretary in 1977.
He studied law from Himachal Pradesh University where he joined ABVP. In 1984 he became the varsity’s student union president.
Was ABVP’s national general secretary during 1986-89.
From 1991 to 1994, he worked in Bharatiya Yuva Morcha, youth wing of BJP.
He won his first assembly election from Bilaspur (Sadar) in Himachal in 1993; retained the seat in 1998 and became state’s health minister.
Lost 2003 assembly polls but won in 2007 and was appointed forest minister, but had to resign in 2010 due to differences with then CM P K Dhumal.
In 2010, he was picked by then BJP chief Nitin Gadkari to join his new team and was later made party’s national General Secretary.
Was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2012; was re-elected in 2018.
In 2014 he became a minister in the Modi government.
Is a member of BJP parliamentary board (the highest decision-making body of the party) and central election committee.
Was appointed working national president of BJP last year.