NEW DELHI: AMID loud cheer, beating of drums and spirited dance by people sporting Himachali caps in the forecourt of the BJP headquarters, Jagat Prakash Nadda took charge of the largest political party in the world here on Monday.
Some of the supporters had descended on Sunday evening itself to fete their leader, hailing from Vilaspur in Himachal Pradesh, for being elected the BJP’s national president.
In the afternoon, election committee chairman and former Union minister Radha Mohan Singh patiently waited behind the dais in the multi-purpose hall, with scores of chief ministers and state unit core group members in the audience, for the time to elapse for withdrawal of nomination papers.
Twenty-two sets of nomination papers, one by the Parliamentary Board consisting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the outgoing BJP chief Amit Shah and others, and 21 by state units, had been filed in the morning for Nadda.
At the scheduled time for the announcement of the outcome of the elections, Shah walked into the hall along with Nadda, and Singh read out the written script: “Jagat Prakash Nadda has been elected president of the BJP for 2019-22.”
Known to enjoy the blessings of PM Narendra Modi, Nadda was put on the path of the leadership with the party giving him the charge of Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the same path taken by Amit Shah in 2014 before he became the president.
Like Shah, Nadda also delivered 60-plus Lok Sabha seats from UP despite the grand alliance of Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in the state. Nadda’s term will conclude in 2022 after the UP Assembly elections.
Nadda seen as leader willing to hear, work with teams
Within the party, Nadda’s most crucial challenge is seen guiding the BJP to another victory in UP and work in close cooperation with chief minister Yogi Adityanath.
Having studied in Patna where his father was a professor, Nadda is known to keep a close tab on Bihar politics where the Assembly elections are due in October-November this year.
His task after Delhi elections would be to steer the BJP-JD(U) alliance to victory in Bihar, while the BJP will head to next year when the party will make a spirited bid to wrest power in West Bengal besides defending own government in Assam.
BJP leaders see Nadda as an accommodative leader who keeps his ears open for suggestions and has an appetite to work in a team. His first accommodative imprint has already been seen in Delhi elections where the BJP has ceded three seats to allies JD(U) and LJP.
After the felicitation at the party headquarters, Nadda went into a huddle with 11 CMs f BJP-ruled states and Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi.
With the BJP losing five states in the past 15 months, Nadda is expected to work closely with the chief ministers of party-ruled states to get the winning script back for the saffron outfit.