The BJP, according to trends around noon, is not only the single-largest party but has comfortably breached the 272 mark. The saffron unit is leading in 287 seats as of now and it won’t be a surprise if it pushed the 300-mark on its own. The NDA, at this point, is close to leading in 350 out of 542 seats. Obviously, a lion’s share of credit for these staggering numbers should go Narendra Modi who is poised to return with an even bigger mandate than in 2014. If these trends hold true till the end, then India would have given Modi the biggest mandate for any non-Congress incumbent government.
Even as we make sense of these numbers and watch unfolding of history, it would be foolish to gloss over the role played by one man whose contribution towards BJP’s unmatched political dominance across India equals that of Modi. And the prime minister would be the first one to acknowledge the stellar role played by his most trusted general. Amit Shah wouldn’t mind the lack of limelight on him though. He prefers it that way.
However, there is a difference between Amit Shah’s roles in 2014 and 2019. Five years ago, he was BJP’s chief strategist for Uttar Pradesh who developed a winning formula through tactical alliances, built an unbeatable grassroot organisational structure and ensured a two-way feedback mechanism that fills the gap between voters and the party. Even then we would work like a man possessed to achieve his objectives.
This time, however, Shah had an added responsibility. The BJP president had become a Rajya Sabha MP but his ambition, abilities and the BJP’s need for him to play an even greater role in the next Modi government meant that he had to contest the Lok Sabha elections. The fact that he chose Gandhinagar, a seat which BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani had made his own, indicated a generational and ideological shift in the party.
Gandhinagar is as safe a seat for BJP as it comes and Shah, the political mastermind, was never going to lose. At the time of writing, the BJP president was leading by over 125000 votes. Shah’s win changes the political game for the BJP. It indicates that Modi’s alter-ego may join the Cabinet and handle an important portfolio.
During Modi’s tenure as Gujarat chief minister, Shah was his home minister. It is risky to speculate what portfolio Modi might hand over to Shah, given the latter’s propensity to surprise. It is safe however to say that it will be an important portfolio that will help achieve the goals of Modi 2.0. As party president, Shah has already proved his administrative acumen and such a job might be a promotion that matches his bigger stature in the party and in national politics.
Shah has also proved his risk-taking ability by fielding Pragya Thakur against Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal. Now that his most audacious move is also on the verge of getting fructified, Shah’s stock is set to rise even higher.
Updated Date: May 23, 2019 13:07:47 IST