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Hunt Begins For Next BJP president: Vinod Tawde, Sunil Bansal & Who Else Are Frontrunners?

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By ETV Bharat English Team

Published : Jun 13, 2024, 2:09 PM IST

Updated : Jun 14, 2024, 12:05 PM IST

JP Nadda’s inclusion in the Modi 3.0 raised questions about who will succeed him as the next BJP president, at a time when the party's seat tally in the Lok Sabha election has seen a dip from 303 to 240. The party desperately wants a new chief who can pump life into the organisation when a section of the RSS is keeping its knives out for 'non-performers' blaming them for the party's poor show in Lok Sabha election.

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Maharashtra BJP leader Vinod Tawde. (ETV Bharat)

New Delhi/Nagpur (Maharashtra): Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the oath of office for a record-making third term at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday and another 72 ministers were also sworn in as his lieutenants who make up Modi Sarkar 3.0.

A day later, JP Nadda was given the charge of Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry, a portfolio handled by Mansukh Mandaviya. Jagat Prakash Nadda's inclusion in the new Council of Ministers of the NDA government means that the BJP is all set to hunt for a new president of party, which appears to be looking forward for an organisation overhaul following the unsatisfactory performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election.

The saffron party '400-paar dream' was punctured by a combined force of INDIA alliance and saw its national vote share falling marginally from 37.3% in 2019 to 36.6% in 2024. The party's seat tally dropped by 63 from 303 to 240, putting it well below the halfway mark.

In contrast, Congress upped its vote share a bit from 19.5% last time to 21.2%. Significantly, Congress was able to nearly double its seat tally from 52 to 99.

After the dip in vote share and below par performance, naturally pressure built up from the RSS, the BJP's ideological parent. The role of JP Nadda, who has been the party’s chief since January 2020, also came under scrutiny.

Now, with Nadda’s return to the Cabinet, who was also a part of Modi’s first government, helming the health ministry — a hunt for the new BJP chief has begun. Since the party follows the principle of “one man, one post”, it's not possible for Nadda to continue as the BJP president.

The most important question which is doing the rounds in the circle is that who could be in the running for BJP president?

Is an organisation reshuffle likely in BJP?

According to sources, there has been an undercurrent for Nadda's removal from the post of BJP president for quite some time. It gained ground after BJP's election defeat in Karnataka though the veteran leader from Himachal Pradesh was able to turn the tide in his favour with favour from a senior cabinet collogue.

The tenure of Nadda, who became a full-time president in 2020, came to an end in January this year. However, he was given a six-month extension to oversee the Lok Sabha elections and his term ends in June.

As soon as Nadda found his place in the new Modi administration, it became clear that the BJP will now look for a new president to helm the organisation.

Interestingly, initial names which were doing the rounds for the party president’s posts were Manoharlal Khattar, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Anurag Thakur and BL Santosh. With the first two leaders finding their places in the Cabinet, choices of probables boiled down to Anurag Thakur, Tarun Chugh, Sunil Bansal and Devendra Fadnavis.

Another name doing the rounds is that of Vinod Tawde. Hailing from Maharashtra, Tawde has been a minister at the state level. Currently, he is the general secretary in-charge of Bihar and handled several key responsibilities during the Lok Sabha campaign. With a background from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), he is known to be a soft-spoken and methodical leader.

This leaves the BJP to look inwards into its organisation. Now, one of the names doing the rounds for BJP president is outgoing minister Anurag Thakur . The former Union minister was excluded from the Cabinet despite winning a fifth term from the Hamirpur seat in Himachal Pradesh. He also has organisation experience in his kitty from his time as former president of the BJP’s youth wing.

Choosing Thakur for the top post means it would seem that two top positions have been accorded from Himachal Pradesh. Nadda and Thakur both are from the Himalayan state. Making Thakur the party president would also mean that the BJP has its first political dynast as party chief.

The emergence of Vinod Tawde

Vinod Tawde has emerged as one of the frontrunners for the hot seat. Home Minister Amit Shah's confidante Sunil Bansal, a probable, is also another name which is being discussed but his performance as an organisational in-charge in West Bengal came into question after BJP's poor performance in the state where its tally of Lok Sabha seats dipped from 18 to 12.

Vinod Tawde, who was once seemingly overlooked by the BJP, is suddenly on the race again. Senior BJP leader and former state president Chandrakant Patil has hinted that Tawde will soon be given a bigger responsibility. Tawde, who has been working hard for party building at the central level since 2020, was earlier removed from his ministerial post.

Tawde was a member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and his credentials have firmly been established in saffron party's state politics.

Credentials as a leader

After the BJP and Shiv Sena coalition government came to power in the state in 2014, Vinod Tawde, who had become an MLA from Borivali assembly constituency in Mumbai, was made the education minister.

Hailing from the Maratha community, poll pundits believe that making him the BJP chief would send a good message ahead of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, scheduled for later this year. They note that it would be especially beneficial considering the party’s poor show in the state in the national elections.

Another probable for BJP chief is Sunil Bansal. The current BJP national general secretary, is a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak and is believed to be close to Amit Shah. Moreover, he enjoys the support of the RSS. During the Lok Sabha campaign, Bansal handled all the call centres across the country, collecting feedback and encouraging and motivating workers on the ground.

The name of BL Santhosh, who serves as the general secretary (organisation) of the party, also featured in the discussion initially as he is well ware of organisation and its functioning. His drawback is that a section of the Karnataka BJP blamed him for the party’s defeat in the 2023 Assembly elections.

Another contender in the running for BJP chief is Om Mathur from Rajasthan. Mathur is known to be close to PM Modi. A former RSS pracharak, Mathur has a proven track record when it comes to elections in Maharashtra (2014), Uttar Pradesh (2017) and, Chhattisgarh in 2023.

Till the time, the BJP gets a new president, it’s a wait and watch game.

New Delhi/Nagpur (Maharashtra): Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the oath of office for a record-making third term at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday and another 72 ministers were also sworn in as his lieutenants who make up Modi Sarkar 3.0.

A day later, JP Nadda was given the charge of Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Ministry, a portfolio handled by Mansukh Mandaviya. Jagat Prakash Nadda's inclusion in the new Council of Ministers of the NDA government means that the BJP is all set to hunt for a new president of party, which appears to be looking forward for an organisation overhaul following the unsatisfactory performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election.

The saffron party '400-paar dream' was punctured by a combined force of INDIA alliance and saw its national vote share falling marginally from 37.3% in 2019 to 36.6% in 2024. The party's seat tally dropped by 63 from 303 to 240, putting it well below the halfway mark.

In contrast, Congress upped its vote share a bit from 19.5% last time to 21.2%. Significantly, Congress was able to nearly double its seat tally from 52 to 99.

After the dip in vote share and below par performance, naturally pressure built up from the RSS, the BJP's ideological parent. The role of JP Nadda, who has been the party’s chief since January 2020, also came under scrutiny.

Now, with Nadda’s return to the Cabinet, who was also a part of Modi’s first government, helming the health ministry — a hunt for the new BJP chief has begun. Since the party follows the principle of “one man, one post”, it's not possible for Nadda to continue as the BJP president.

The most important question which is doing the rounds in the circle is that who could be in the running for BJP president?

Is an organisation reshuffle likely in BJP?

According to sources, there has been an undercurrent for Nadda's removal from the post of BJP president for quite some time. It gained ground after BJP's election defeat in Karnataka though the veteran leader from Himachal Pradesh was able to turn the tide in his favour with favour from a senior cabinet collogue.

The tenure of Nadda, who became a full-time president in 2020, came to an end in January this year. However, he was given a six-month extension to oversee the Lok Sabha elections and his term ends in June.

As soon as Nadda found his place in the new Modi administration, it became clear that the BJP will now look for a new president to helm the organisation.

Interestingly, initial names which were doing the rounds for the party president’s posts were Manoharlal Khattar, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Anurag Thakur and BL Santosh. With the first two leaders finding their places in the Cabinet, choices of probables boiled down to Anurag Thakur, Tarun Chugh, Sunil Bansal and Devendra Fadnavis.

Another name doing the rounds is that of Vinod Tawde. Hailing from Maharashtra, Tawde has been a minister at the state level. Currently, he is the general secretary in-charge of Bihar and handled several key responsibilities during the Lok Sabha campaign. With a background from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), he is known to be a soft-spoken and methodical leader.

This leaves the BJP to look inwards into its organisation. Now, one of the names doing the rounds for BJP president is outgoing minister Anurag Thakur . The former Union minister was excluded from the Cabinet despite winning a fifth term from the Hamirpur seat in Himachal Pradesh. He also has organisation experience in his kitty from his time as former president of the BJP’s youth wing.

Choosing Thakur for the top post means it would seem that two top positions have been accorded from Himachal Pradesh. Nadda and Thakur both are from the Himalayan state. Making Thakur the party president would also mean that the BJP has its first political dynast as party chief.

The emergence of Vinod Tawde

Vinod Tawde has emerged as one of the frontrunners for the hot seat. Home Minister Amit Shah's confidante Sunil Bansal, a probable, is also another name which is being discussed but his performance as an organisational in-charge in West Bengal came into question after BJP's poor performance in the state where its tally of Lok Sabha seats dipped from 18 to 12.

Vinod Tawde, who was once seemingly overlooked by the BJP, is suddenly on the race again. Senior BJP leader and former state president Chandrakant Patil has hinted that Tawde will soon be given a bigger responsibility. Tawde, who has been working hard for party building at the central level since 2020, was earlier removed from his ministerial post.

Tawde was a member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad and his credentials have firmly been established in saffron party's state politics.

Credentials as a leader

After the BJP and Shiv Sena coalition government came to power in the state in 2014, Vinod Tawde, who had become an MLA from Borivali assembly constituency in Mumbai, was made the education minister.

Hailing from the Maratha community, poll pundits believe that making him the BJP chief would send a good message ahead of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, scheduled for later this year. They note that it would be especially beneficial considering the party’s poor show in the state in the national elections.

Another probable for BJP chief is Sunil Bansal. The current BJP national general secretary, is a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak and is believed to be close to Amit Shah. Moreover, he enjoys the support of the RSS. During the Lok Sabha campaign, Bansal handled all the call centres across the country, collecting feedback and encouraging and motivating workers on the ground.

The name of BL Santhosh, who serves as the general secretary (organisation) of the party, also featured in the discussion initially as he is well ware of organisation and its functioning. His drawback is that a section of the Karnataka BJP blamed him for the party’s defeat in the 2023 Assembly elections.

Another contender in the running for BJP chief is Om Mathur from Rajasthan. Mathur is known to be close to PM Modi. A former RSS pracharak, Mathur has a proven track record when it comes to elections in Maharashtra (2014), Uttar Pradesh (2017) and, Chhattisgarh in 2023.

Till the time, the BJP gets a new president, it’s a wait and watch game.

Last Updated : Jun 14, 2024, 12:05 PM IST
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