With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in mind, the BJP’s move to entrust its general secretary Vinod Tawde with the charge of Bihar, a state where the party recently lost power after key ally Nitish Kumar left the NDA and joined hands with the RJD, shows the central leadership’s acknowledgment of his abilities in delivering results amid complex political challenges.
The Maharashtra veteran leader, who was elevated as general secretary last November, was in charge of Haryana.
The central leadership had also assigned him an important role in the recently held presidential polls, where Tawde was the chief coordinator and extensively toured the country to elicit support for NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu.
लोकसभा प्रवास योजना की महत्वपूर्ण बैठक माननीय राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष जे.पी.नड्डा जी और माननीय गृहमंत्री अमित भाई शाह जी की उपस्थिति में संपन्न हुई, संगठन सशक्तिकरण हेतु दोनों नेताओं का बहुमूल्य मार्गदर्शन प्राप्त हुआ। pic.twitter.com/q3cSpfJQVH
— Vinod Tawde (@TawdeVinod) September 6, 2022
The Bihar in-charge post had been lying vacant since Bhupendra Yadav became Union minister soon after the Bihar Assembly polls in end-2020. Several senior BJP leaders were known to have not been too happy with Yadav’s functioning as Bihar in-charge. One of the tasks Tawde will have is ironing out the wrinkles and striking coordination between veteran and young BJP leaders, as well as state and central units, especially given the aggressive JD(U) and RJD the party faces now.
A senior BJP leader said: “Bihar is a difficult state, like West Bemgal, for the party now.” Another BJP leader said the party had chosen well in Tawde, given his organisation skills. “At a time the BJP faces the challenge of reactivating cadre at every level, Tawde has to play the role of a catalyst. With his ABVP background, he can understand Bihar well.”
One of the first developments post Tawde’s appointment in the BJP will be appointment of a new state president, with incumbent Sanjay Jaiswal completing his term this month. A leader said Tawde will have an “all-new team” to work with – “Vijay Kumar Sinha as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Samrat Choudhary as Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, and the new president due to take over soon”.
Party leaders hope the new set-up will prove up to the challenge of ensuring that the JD(U) and Nitish Kumar do not walk away with the entire credit for good governance initiatives between 2005 and 2013, while also highlighting the Central schemes. “We have to tell the people that Nitish had been with the NDA and done the good works when with the NDA,” a BJP leader said.
First up are the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. In 2019, of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats, the NDA, including the BJP, JD(U) and LJP had won 39, with the Congress getting 1. While the JD(U) is now with the Congress and RJD, the LJP’s position remains uncertain.
For Tawde, the new charge also shows that the patience he has shown since he was denied an Assembly ticket in 2019 from his constituency in Mumbai’s Borivali at the eleventh hour, has paid off. He was the sitting MLA, and the move had come as a rude shock.
In 2020, the BJP made him national secretary and entrusted him the charge of Haryana, and a year later, elevated him to general secretary.
A senior Maharashtra BJP leader said: “As national secretary, Tawde yielded good results in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, against all odds (the BJP won 12 seats against a resurgent AAP’s 18, and later managed to secure the Mayor’s post). Tawde also handled Haryana very well. So, we are confident he will bring results in Bihar.”
Tawde began his political career with the ABVP, and has served as Mumbai BJP chief and Opposition leader in the Legislative Council, and was a Cabinet minister in the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition government.