Bharatiya Janata Party’s national general secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda’s induction in the Union cabinet has not only raised his stature, but is seemingly an indication of quickly changing political dimensions in saffron party, at least in Himachal Pradesh that largely depended on former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
Nadda’s rise in politics has been gradual. Born on December 2, 1960, Nadda was a cabinet minister in the state for the first time from 1998-2003. Nadda, who was forest minister in Prem Kumar Dhumal–led BJP government, quit his ministerial berth in 2010, after he was appointed as the BJP national general secretary by the then BJP chief Nitin Gadkari. He entered Rajya Sabha in 2012. Nadda had been instrumental in framing up elections strategies in Chhattisgarh.
Nadda was retained as party general secretary by Rajnath Singh when he took charge of the party ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Nadda’s name cropped up prominently as successor to Rajnath after he was inducted in Narendra Modi’s cabinet.
Having lost out to Amit Shah in race for party’s top slot, he was appointed as secretary of BJP’s parliamentary board. Nadda, who enjoys a good rapport with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and party president, was made the state affairs in-charge of Maharashtra and Rajasthan, which reflected his growing stature in the party.
Nadda’s who remained low- profile in his home state, had difference of opinion with former chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who ‘promoted’ his elder son Anurag Thakur – a three-time parliamentarian and head of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).
Nadda’s increasing stature in the national politics would now add new dimension in saffron party, at least in Himachal Pradesh. Nadda has certainly emerged as the next power centre in the hill state. Rather it’s a double whammy for former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who despite sharing a good rapport with Prime Minster Narendra Modi, failed to get a berth for his son Anurag Thakur in the Union cabinet.
Meanwhile, both Dhumal and his son are facing series of cases against them. Dhumal was accused of favouring Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) headed by Anurag Thakur.
Nadda’s increasing clout in Delhi is a cause of concern for the Dhumals, as he also hails from Bilaspur district which is a part of Hamirpur parliamentary constituency. A group of BJP legislatures, particularly those from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) background had been covertly rallying behind Nadda.
Political analysts sees Nadda’s induction as rise of another Brahman leader in Himachal Pradesh after veteran Shanta Kumar, who became the first non Congress chief minister to head Janata Party government in government in 1977. Shanta Kumar was outscored by Prem Kumar Dhumal in 1998 when BJP formed an alliance government with Himachal Vikas Congress. Nadda’s rise could fan the factional war in the state BJP.
State BJP leaders congratulate Nadda
There was apparently a mad rush in the BJP to felicitate Nadda on his induction in the Union cabinet.
Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, party president Satpal Singh Satti, general secretary Rajiv Bindal, Vipin Parmar, Randhir Sharma, Lok Sabha member Anurag Thakur, Virender Kashyap, Ramswaroop Sharma, party legislators and office bearers thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for inducting Nadda into the cabinet.
Congratulating Nadda, BJP leaders said it was matter of pride for the state. “It will also benefit the state in terms of developmental activities,” said BJP leaders in press statements here.
Dhumal said Nadda was a senior politician and his induction in cabinet would give new dimension to the development of the state. Party workers also celebrated the Nadda’s induction. Outside the party headquarters, Deepkamal, fireworks and sweets distribution added to the celebration.