Nadda to follow growth template set by Amit Shah, but will have different working style, say BJP functionaries
The reappointment of several state unit presidents who were appointed during Shah’s tenure is being perceived as an indication that his writ will continue to run.Updated: Jan 20, 2020 21:39 IST
Jagat Prakash Nadda took over the reins of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Amit Shah on Monday. The transition is being closely watched for several reasons, key among these being the selection of the new national team and how the party fares in the upcoming state assembly elections in Delhi and later in the year in Bihar.
The tenure of Shah, who became the youngest president of BJP, ended in December, but he continued in the position as the organisational elections in the states, a pre-requisite for the selection of the new national president, had not been concluded.
His two terms established him as a president under whom the party not only saw a surge in its membership, but was also seen to breach bastions earlier out of its reach.
How will the party change with the stepping down of Shah, who wielded control and oversaw every aspect from the membership drive to crafting the party’s election strategy?
Party functionaries who spoke to HT said JP Nadda, who brings with him organisational skills honed first as the ABVP’s general secretary and later as a key functionary of the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, will follow the template of growth set by Shah, but will have a working style that will set him apart.
“Nadda is a hard working, patient, affable personality. He keeps a low profile, but is proficient in skills required for leading an organisation that is based on ideology, but is still made up of diverse people. His style of functioning will not be overshadowed by that of his predecessors,” said a party leader familiar with Nadda’s style of work.
While comparisons are inevitable, party leaders said they are expecting Nadda, who was first appointed as the party’s working president in June 2019, to continue the processes established by the “Modi-Shah duo”.
“It is the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and Shah team that galvanised karyakartas and led the party to its current position. Nadda will compliment the duo and it will be a successful troika, where Modi with his mass appeal, Shah with his tough decision making and Nadda with his grip on organisational affairs will steer the party,” said a second functionary.
The reappointment of several state unit presidents who were appointed during Shah’s tenure is being perceived as an indication that his writ will continue to run.
Party general secretary Murlidhar Rao said the party, which has set high targets for itself, in terms of electoral success, will make the most of the gains made under Shah. He sees collaborative efforts between the old guard and the new to keep the momentum going.
“Shah had a free hand for five years and it was under his watch that party won several state elections and the last Lok Sabha polls. For the new president, his 360 degree experience and tremendous know-how will be an added asset. He can reach out for advice and assistance and that will be the extent to which Shah’s influence will continue,” he said.
Several leaders also said that Nadda’s “man management skills”, his “cordiality” will prove advantageous.
“He’s a sharp mind, a good listener and can work without creating waves... sometimes that is also necessary to bind people,” said the second functionary.
Former BJP leader and an ex-minister, Yashwant Sinha, who had a bitter fallout with the current BJP leadership, however, said the change is unlikely to see an end to the Modi-Shah control over the party.
“The party has undergone a metamorphosis under them (Modi and Shah). Shah was not a co-worker but a boss and he changed the character of the party both form within and outside. It became a corporate entity,” Sinha said.
On why he thinks Shah’s control will be ubiquitous, Sinha said: “He will be the home minister, an influential position. In other parties it is the president who is more powerful; but in the BJP it is the PM and the ministers who exert more power.”