Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, and JP Nadda at the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting (File).
Jagat Prakash Nadda was elected unopposed as the national president of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday, taking over the reins from Amit Shah. Nadda had been appointed the BJP working president last year, after Amit Shah's elevation to the Cabinet as Home Minister.
The announcement was made by senior BJP leader Radha Mohan Singh, who is in charge of BJP's organisational election process, at the party headquarters in New Delhi. in the evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also arrived at the headquarters to felicitate Nadda. The PM described him as a dedicated, disciplined leader known for his affable nature.
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The BJP had reached a new electoral high under Shah over the last more than five years, expanding its footprints across the country. Nadda will take over at a time when the party is facing protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
JP Nadda's decades-long experience in the organisation starting from student politics, his proximity to the RSS and a clean image are seen as his strengths. As party chief, Nadda would be working closely with B L Santosh, general secretary (organisation), also a choice of Shah, who shares the image of an aggressive doer and a disciplinarian — like Shah.
Nadda, party leaders say, is unlikely to take any big decision on his own for some time. A senior BJP leader said, “It will take at least six months to see how Nadda is going to play his cards. One has to wait and see whether he will try to emerge as a different power centre, or will only implement Shah’s decisions in the party. Whatever it is, the party will be under the shadow of Amit Shah.”
Outgoing BJP president Amit Shah, senior party leaders take part in the nomination process for the incoming party chief in New Delhi (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)
Nadda's career began with student politics in the ABVP and then the BJYM. From 1993 to 2012, he was a Member of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly for three terms. He was also a cabinet minister from 1998 to 2003 — in charge of health and then forest, environment and science minister in the government of Himachal Pradesh from 2008-2010.
In May 2014, Nadda was part of the Modi government and served as the Health Minister. He was in charge of Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 elections, and the party performed impressively in the state, restricting the much-hyped Mahagathbandhan to 15 seats. In 2017, Nadda lost out to Jairam Thakur for the chief minister’s post in Himachal Pradesh after the BJP wrested back power from Congress in the hill state. In June 2019, he was appointed as the working president of the BJP.
Amit Shah was the BJP president for five-and-a-half years