Even as the elevation of Jagat Prakash Nadda as national President of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) makes his home state Himachal Pradesh acquire much significance in the Centre, the development will certainly cast a shadow on the political equations in HP.
Rajya Sabha MP, Nadda is the first leader from Himachal Pradesh to become head of any national political party. The state, with just four Lok Sabha seats, did have cabinet ministers in the Centre (Shanta Kumar from BJP, Virbhadra Singh and Anand Sharma from Congress), but not the party President.
Born and brought up in Patna in Bihar as his father was a Professor at Patna University, Nadda, 59, originally hails from Bilaspur district of Himachal.
He, however, rose from student politics (Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad) in Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and became MLA for the first time in 1993, representing Bilaspur.
He led the BJP Legislature Party in Vidhan Sabha from 1993-1998, and in later two tenures as MLA, he became health and family welfare minister (1998-2003) and Forest minister (2007-2010). He left cabinet berth in the state in 2010 and moved to Delhi as national general secretary of BJP.
It is his second term as Rajya Sabha MP from HP. He remained Union Health and Family Welfare minister in Modi government form 2014-19.
“It is a proud moment for the state that the national President of BJP, the largest political party of the world, is from Himachal,” said Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur, newly elected state BJP chief, Rajeev Bindal and Union Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur, on unopposed election of Nadda as national party chief.
Thakur and Bindal, along with other ministers and BJP leaders and party workers in large numbers from the state, were present in Delhi today to express support and happiness over Nadda’s elevation.
“It is because of his extreme hard work and dedication that he has risen to the highest levels in the organisation,” said Bindal.
Bindal reportedly got the top party post in Himachal with the backing of Nadda, despite the fact that the state leadership, including chief minister, Jai Ram Thakur were batting for some other not so prominent and low profile BJP leaders for the coveted party post in HP, eyeing a different political game.
While the state BJP cadres are happy with Nadda taking over as national BJP President as Himachal BJP would now supposedly get added importance in the central corridors now, Nadda may play important role in state politics directly or indirectly by keeping an eye on the factions through his ‘feelers’.
BJP insiders said the party currently witnesses simmering factionalism- with Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur on one side and Union Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur on the other. (The bickering became obvious when Anurag reportedly ignored CM Jai Ram on the dais as he came there to congratulate Rajeev Bindal during announcement of his election as BJP chief in HP on 18 January in Shimla). With Nadda not siding with either of the two, groups in the choice of state BJP chief and reportedly pushing Bindal’s name instead, this has added new dimension in BJP in Himachal.
It is pertinent to mention that Nadda had subtly and silently separated himself from the state factions in 2010 when he went to Delhi.