Despite Bihar debacle and differences with RSS, Amit Shah to be re-elected as BJP president

Despite the fact that the BJP won the state assembly polls for Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand held in 2014 and was able to form a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with PDP because of its numbers in J&K state polls, Amit Shah did not really have what one might call a successful year as BJP national president.

Amit Shah came under a lot of criticism for his style of functioning after the party received the massive drubbing in the Bihar and Delhi state assemblies. However, Shah is most likely to be re-elected as BJP president later in January, according to Zee News.

And everyone is not happy with this decision.

An article in Business Standard said that RSS is against the re-election of Shah as BJP president as it believes that the party and government chief should not belong to the same state.

 Despite Bihar debacle and differences with RSS, Amit Shah to be re-elected as BJP president

Amit Shah. Reuters

"However, that it has taken nearly 14 months for the RSS to reach this conclusion (Amit Shah was appointed BJP president in July 2014) suggests that the reason for a discussion on his replacement lies elsewhere," said the report.

However, since Prime Minister Narendra Modi is quite adamant on renewing Shah's tenure as the BJP chief, RSS does not want to displease him. "How to break this deadlock would be the central theme of the discussion when the top Sangh leaders meet at Jalgaon," an article in Scroll said.

“But we have enough indications that despite the disastrous performances in the Delhi and Bihar assembly elections and widespread criticism of Amit Shah’s style of functioning, Modi is determined to get him re-elected as the BJP president,” the report quoted an RSS leader as saying.

A defeat in high-stakes Bihar poll triggered first real open challenge to party chief Amit Shah as veteran L K Advani, who has headed the organisation on more occasions than any other leader, was joined by three other seniors in bringing Shah's leadership style into question.

Shah's hands-on, quick and assertive manners are seen as a departure from the practices of previous party bosses who believed in collective approach and sought consensus even if it delayed the decision-making. A party leader said that the BJP chief had spent more time in his office or travelling states in building the organisation in a year than some of his predecessors did in their entire tenure.

Amit Shah also got involved in a fairly large amount of controversies in the last year. Perhaps his biggest mistake which continues to haunt the party to this date was when in February last year, Shah made a huge blunder while answering a question on Modi's claims to bring back black money to the country.

"Modiji’s statement was a jumla that was given during the Lok Sabha polls. Everybody knows that this black money doesn’t go to accounts of people," Shah had said.

Another one of Shah's most controversial statements was when in October, he had said that fire crackers will burst in Pakistan if his party loses Bihar assembly elections. "Do you want the return of Jungle Raj-2? If by any mistake BJP loses, victory and defeat may be in Bihar but fire crackers will go off in Pakistan. Do you want crackers being burst in Pakistan?" he had said at an election rally in Raxaul.

Just after the Bihar rout, Shah had yet again kicked up a row after he had said that Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh had set an example in politics by retiring at the age of 60.

Because of such widespread criticism, even though Shah will retain his position as BJP national president, the saffron party will also be revamped after the re-election.

According to the Zee News report, some new faces will be inducted into the party while some of the leaders who have not been performing well will be sacked.

The Business Standard report also said that the party has planned breakfast meetings of ministers with BJP workers for better co-ordination between the party and the government. Now, there are a string of state elections coming up - Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha.

And even if Amit Shah is back as BJP president, 2016 is probably going to be a challenging year for him.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 06, 2016 17:17:49 IST