August 1, 2017
Even though Shah has scotched reports of him joining Team Modi, he may end up doing exactly the opposite in the fluid political situation.
Kumar Shakti Shekhar | Posted by Isha Gupta
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to reshuffle his Cabinet this month, dropping some non-performers, including new faces and filling the vacant ministries. In the much-needed exercise, BJP president Amit Shah is being tipped as one of the probable ministers in the Modi Cabinet. With Shah himself refuting such reports, BJP has reasons to cheer.
Shah being included as one of the new faces in the Modi government had its genesis in his contesting the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat. Shah is a five-term MLA from his home state. However, he is contesting a parliamentary election for the very first time. This triggered the speculation of the BJP president moving to policy making from strengthening and expanding the party.
But Shah rejected the speculation on Monday of him resigning as BJP president. “There is no question of doing so. I have the responsibility of being the party president. I am happy, and I am working wholeheartedly. You people (media) please do not push,” Shah told mediapersons.
Even though Shah has scotched reports of him joining Team Modi, he may end up doing exactly the opposite in the fluid political situation. Or, in a unique arrangement, he may even hold both the posts – of a minister as well as the BJP chief. However, the BJP cadres must have heaved a sigh of relief after his rejoinder to the conjectures.
These are the reasons why:
2014 LOK SABHA ELECTIONS
Recognising his electoral talent, he was appointed as the BJP national general secretary in charge of the crucial Uttar Pradesh state ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. This was the highest point in his political journey then. Known as a master of electoral mathematics with a nose for smallest of data points, Shah hit the ground running, knowing full well that performing exceptionally well in UP was key to BJP and Modi’s success in the general elections.
Shah spent a whole year visiting every nook and corner of the state, infusing enthusiasm among the party workers, pushing BJP’s development agenda along with BJP’s prime ministerial Narendra Modi’s vision. The strategy worked as BJP along with its allies won 73 of the 80 seats in the state. This helped the party crossed the magic figure of 272 in the Lok Sabha. The party won 282 seats.
WORLD’S LARGEST PARTY
Recognising his acumen, Shah was anointed as BJP’s president in 2014. This made him busier. In less than a year as BJP chief, he travelled to each and every state to push the party’s ideology and expand its base.
The results were exceptional. BJP became the world’s largest political party with over 10 crore members.
Under Shah’s stewardship, BJP has so far faced Assembly elections in 16 states since August 2014. It has formed government in nine – UP, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur, Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Assam.
It has been able to strengthen its position in four states and Union Territories – Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry – where its position had always been weak. The party lost three states – Delhi, Bihar and Punjab.
However, Bihar has fallen back in BJP’s kitty after Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar broke alliance with Lalu Prasad-led RJD and tied up with it last week.
Riding on Modi wave and crafting smart strategies, Shah succeeded in winning Assembly elections in four states – Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir – during the first year itself. While the party was successful in installing its chief ministers for the very first time in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana, it formed coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.
In UP Assembly elections, BJP garnered 41 per cent votes and won 325 of the 403 seats. In contrast, it had garnered just 15 pc votes and bagged 47 seats in the 2012 Assembly polls. It was the biggest victory of any party in UP in the last 40 years.
Under Shah, special attention has been made on seven weak states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal.
BJP won the 2016 Assembly elections in Assam with absolute majority while in Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, it became a force to reckon with.
The party has put its focus on the Northeastern states. Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) has been formed for forming alliance and development of the region. BJP has been successful in installing its CM in Manipur and Arunachal. An NDA government has been formed in Nagaland. Never in history had BJP made such inroads in the Northeast.
Not just Lok Sabha and Assembly elections but BJP under Amit Shah has also produced unprecedented results in the local elections.
In Maharashtra local elections, BJP has mayor in eight out of the 10 municipal corporations. It won maximum 401 seats. Out of 25 zila panchayats, BJP also has maximum 10 district chairpersons and five vice-chairpersons.
In Odisha, BJP bagged 306 out of 849 seats. In 2012, it had won just 36 seats.
Besides, BJP won the local elections held in Madhya Pradesh, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Leh-Laddakh, Andaman Nicobar, Assam and Lakshadweep.
2019 LOK SABHA POLLS
Shah is preparing a strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. A special tactic is being formulated for the 120 seats which BJP had lost in 2014 Lok Sabha seats. Special focus has been made on seven weak states besides the Northeastern states.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Besides the strategy, Amit Shah’s mantra for success has been extensive travelling and establishing mass contact with party workers. In 32 months (till March 2017) as BJP president, on an average he has travelled 524 km every day. He has made a total journey of 5,07,177 km during this period.
During his tenure, training camps were held for workers the first time on a grand scale at national, state, district and block levels. Earlier, only 3,500 workers on an average participated in such training camps annually.
But under Shah, more than 7.25 lakh workers joined these camps in 2015.
With such perseverance, toil and tangible results, BJP may ill-afford to spare Amit Shah. In him, PM Modi will surely get a minister with a proven track record as a successful leader, but BJP would surely suffer. In view of the forthcoming Assembly elections including Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BJP would ill-afford to lose a master strategist.