With an eye on the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, the Bharatiya Janata Party today undertook a major rejig of its highest decision-making body, inducting as many as six new faces and divesting some of its top leaders from the parliamentary board of the party. Among those dropped include Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan while BS Yediyurappa and Sarbananda Sonowal were among the six notable entrants. The other leaders inducted include K Laxman, Iqbal Singh Lalpura, Satyanarayan Jatiya and Sudha Yadav.
Amid buzz over the exclusion of Gadkari and Chouhan from the panel, a prominent name that has grabbed special attention is that of Sudha Yadav. The reason behind this focus is that she is now the sole woman leader on the board following the demise of Late Sushma Swaraj.
Also Read: Gadkari, Chouhan dropped from BJP’s top decision-making body; Fadnavis, Yediyurappa among new entrants
Who is Sudha Yadav?
Sudha Yadav first shot to prominence on the political stage in 1999 when the BJP was on the lookout for a strong face that it could field from Haryana in the Lok Sabha elections being held in the aftermath of the Kargil War. There was a general view among the BJP’s top leadership that it needed a strong contender to face Rao Inderjeet Singh of the Congress, a political heavyweight, from Mahendragarh. Beating Congress in Haryana had emerged as a big challenge for the BJP.
It was then that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in-charge of Haryana at the time for the BJP, proposed the name of Sudha Yadav, to face the Congress from the seat. Yadav’s husband, a Deputy Commandant in the Border Security Force, had just been martyred in the Kargil war, and the thought of entering politics or contesting elections had not even crossed her mind. Repeated attempts by the BJP leadership to convince her failed. Sudha Yadav did not want to contest elections. Dejected, the leadership then tasked Modi with the responsibility to convince her.
The turning point
Yadav has on multiple occasions credited Narendra Modi for her jump into active politics. “Dejected and broken, the thought of contesting elections hadn’t even crossed my mind. It was then that I got to speak to Narendra Modi on the phone. He told me that the nation needs me as much as my family. Despite it being a tough time for me, PM Modi’s words filled me with enthusiasm,” she said, adding that she agreed to contest the elections.
That decision turned out to be a turning point in her career as Sudha Yadav won the elections against Singh by a margin of a whopping 1.39 lakh votes. After continuing as a Member of Parliament till 2004, Yadav tasted defeat twice in 2004 and again in 2009. It was in 2015, a year after the BJP stormed to power at the Centre and Modi was appointed Prime Minister, the party appointed her as the OBC Morcha in-charge.
The message in Sudha Yadav’s appointment
Yadav’s appointment to the key decision-making of the BJP is being viewed as a measure to strengthen the party’s base among OBCs in Haryana and avert a crisis like the one it has had to face in Bihar recently. While only time will tell whether Yadav’s induction yields dividends to the party, her induction into a board that was once occupied by Sushma Swaraj will definitely send a strong message internally within the BJP.