New Delhi, Jul 9 : The crowning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s closest confidant Amit Shah as the new BJP President capped a phenomenal and rapid rise for the party’s key election strategist who crafted an unprecedented victory in Uttar Pradesh. In the process, the controversial yet politically suave Shah, 50, scripted history by becoming the youngest president of the party in which veterans have called the shots since its inception.
Considered an invaluable deputy to any neta, he has taken less than a year to catapult himself from a Gujarat BJP strongman to the party’s supremo on the national stage. Most leaders in the BJP agree that Shah, who was associated with the RSS in his early days, has earned every bit of his success. What worked eventually in favour of Shah was his extra-ordinary political performance in UP where as BJP’s general secretary in-charge he led the party to a dream run wresting 71 of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats in the politically crucial state.
Together with Apna Dal, a new ally which Shah got on board, the BJP won 73 seats in the state leaving a handful for the ruling SP and the Congress in the state. Shah’s organizational skills came in handy for the BJP in bordering Bihar as well where the party forged alliances with the LJP and OBC strongman Upinder Kushwaha to score a staggering 22 alone and 31 out of 40 seats with allies and reducing the state’s incumbent JDU government to a virtual naught.
With his master act of scripting LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan’s return to the NDA fold after over a decade since Godhra riots, Shah managed a massive political makeover for his boss Modi, who had long been denounced by Paswan for the 2002 Gujarat riots. That apart, Shah’s poaching of LJP and Kushwaha who had been eager to ally with the Congress, forced political realignments in Bihar with the JDU and Lalu Prasad’s RJD coming together to face the BJP’s new political challenge.
UP, Bihar and Gujarat put together, Shah’s stamp was visible in half of the total number of seats the BJP won in the 16th Lok Sabha elections, driving the party to its best ever performance under the Modi-Shah combine.
Political acumen apart, Shah’s controversial past has continued to haunt him until lately. Accused of fake encounters involving Sohrabuddin Sheikh, Tulsi Prajapati among others, Shah spent three months in the Sabarmati jail before he secured bail in 2010. The bail cleared the hurdles in the way of Shah’s imminent rise in the BJP where he enjoys complete trust and backing of Modi.