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 has recognised his capabilities to deliver results and tackle 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 President Droupadi Murmu, the NDA candidate.
“I am grateful to party president J P Nadda ji. Under the leadership and guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, we all work as a team,” Tawde said after the BJP on Friday revamped its structure, giving key states to experienced hands.
In 2019, Tawde was denied an Assembly ticket from his constituency in Mumbai’s Borivali at the eleventh hour and the party, instead, gave the ticket to Sunil Rane. The decision came as a rude shock to Tawde, who was then the sitting MLA representing Borivali. However, swallowing the insult and humiliation, Tawde stayed quiet and chose to keep a low profile.
His patience paid off when he was made national secretary in 2020 and entrusted the charge of Haryana. A year later, in 2021, Nadda elevated Tawde to general secretary.
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
“As national secretary, Tawde had yielded good results in Chandigarh Municipal Corporation against all odds. He also handled Haryana state very well. So, we are confident he will bring results in Bihar. He will be adequately backed by the top leadership and a robust team,” a senior BJP leader in Maharashtra said.
However, as Bihar in-charge for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Tawde has a daunting task ahead of him. The central leadership has set a highly ambitious target of 400-plus seats out of 545 seats. The total Lok Sabha seats in Bihar are 40. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BJP won 17 seats, Janata Dal (United) 16, Lok Janshakti Party 6 and Congress 1.
Last month, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar broke his alliance with BJP. The altered permutations and combinations in the state’s political landscape could pose a big challenge to the BJP and Tawde will have to strategise to see how the party can retain its electoral base and enhance it further.
Tawde began his political career with the BJP’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Later, he rose to take charge as BJP Mumbai president. He held various responsibilities in the Maharashtra BJP, including Opposition leader in the state Legislative Council. In 2014, he was a Cabinet minister in the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition government and held portfolios of school education, higher and technical education, sports, culture and Marathi Bhasha.
In 2020, the state BJP shifted two leaders from Maharashtra to Delhi as national secretaries – Tawde and Pankaja Munde. Pankaja continues to retain the same post and has been asked to continue as assistant in-charge of Madhya Pradesh.
“The central leadership takes the final decision on elevation and assigning roles to individual leaders. Each individual has a different role. In the party, nobody is big or small. Nor any job big or small. What matters is sincerity and hard work,” a senior leader in the state BJP said.
However, Pankaja was keen on pursuing politics in Maharashtra. In the 2019 state Assembly polls, she lost from her home turf Parli in Beed district to her estranged cousin, Nationalist Congress Party’s Dhananjay Munde. Pankaja was vying for a seat in the state Legislative Council and her supporters wanted the party to give her the role of Opposition leader. But the central leadership seems to have asked her to focus on the task at hand and work as national secretary as co-in-charge of Madhya Pradesh.