New Delhi: Those who have followed Jagat Prakash Nadda’s political career since he joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Patna—where he would visit the offices of newspapers with press releases of ABVP on his bicycle—believe that his soft demeanour will add to the inclusive atmosphere in the Bharatiya Janata Party. Party leaders said that with Nadda at the top, communication between the top tier and the middle tier would become more seamless and open.
Nadda, who shares decades-old and a very close relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is known for his ability to take people along, nurture his roots and old school and college friends. Modi had recognised the organisational capacity of Nadda when the former had stayed in Himachal Pradesh as party-in-charge.
The ties between Modi and Nadda go back to more than 25 years ago. In 1995, Modi was given charge of Himachal Pradesh. By the time, Nadda had been elected as an MLA from Bilaspur seat, in 1993. People recall that at the time, the bond between Modi and Nadda became very strong. Nadda won twice again, in 1998 and 2008. After Himachal, Modi was sent to Madhya Pradesh and made the election in-charge. Nadda continued to stay in touch with Modi and even came to Bhopal for election management.
Nadda’s leadership ability was first seen during his term as Yuva Morcha president during 1990-94. Later, after the then party president Rajnath Singh joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Home Minister in 2014, Nadda emerged as the strongest contender for the said post. However, in the end, Amit Shah got the job.
Some months ago, when Nadda had gone to Patna University, where his father, Narain Lal Nadda, was head of the department of Applied Economics and Commerce in Patna University, he embraced a university peon and requested the present Vice Chancellor of the university to regularise his services, recalling that the peon was like a guardian to him and he was the one who had taught him how to ride a bicycle.
Nadda’s earliest childhood memories are of the Bhikhna Pahari area in Patna, where his father stayed in a rented accommodation, which belonged to Professor D. Chatterjee, who taught Chemistry in Patna University.
Nadda has a twin brother, Jagat Bhushan. He also has three sisters, two elder and one younger. A first-generation politician, he has no one in politics in his immediate family. His mother-in-law, Jayashree Banerjee, was a BJP MP from Jabalpur and a member of the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004).
As per the autobiography of the 95-year-old Narain Lal Nadda, which was released recently, the then veteran leader of Vidyarthi Parishad, Professor Rajkumar Bhatia had suggested marriage of J.P. Nadda with Mallika Banerjee after matching horoscopes. The marriage was solemnised at the Delhi bungalow of then Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, Mallikarjunaiah. Till then, Jagat Prakash was a full-time pracharak. His twin brother, Jagat Bhushan Nadda, started his career as an advertisement representative of the Indian Nation daily and later switched to teaching.
Before taking up politics as a full-time profession, Nadda had appeared for the entrance examination for the National Defence Academy, but could not clear it. One his sisters’ husband is a member of the Indian Army.
“He has always been soft spoken, a trait that his father also has. However, like his father, his words carry weight and people who work for him or under him, know that his soft demeanour is his way of making people feel comfortable. He has risen through hard work, knows the value of it and appreciates old ties, an attribute that is missing from many current politicians. He had no godfather in politics and wherever he is now is because of his own work,” one of his old friends from Patna said.