Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter on Wednesday to congratulate Amit Shah for completing three years as the Bharatiya Janata Party chief. Modi said that under Shah's leadership, the BJP has expanded its base in several areas and diligently worked towards nation-building.
Under Amit Shah, the party has indeed spread its presence and influence to unexplored areas in the country since 2014.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 9, 2017
Shah was appointed as BJP president on 9 July, 2014, but it was not until a month later that the party's national council approved the decision of its parliamentary board. Shah completed three years in office on Wednesday, at a time when he is about to begin another chapter in his political career as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.
Although BJP suffered a couple of political defeats in state elections since Shah took over, it has also recorded unprecedented victories in other states.
The party's first defeat was in February 2015, when a resurgent Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi meted out an embarrassing defeat to the BJP, reducing it to three members in the 70-member assembly. A few months later in November, BJP lost in Bihar to the Mahagathbandhan led by Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and Lalu Prasad's RJD with Congress as the smaller partner. This was followed by BJP’s senior leaders — led by the likes of LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi — launching a frontal attack on Shah in the aftermath of the defeat. But even the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar broke down last month, and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar formed government with the BJP in the state.
Perhaps one of Shah's biggest accomplishments lies in expanding the BJP beyond its traditional strongholds. It registered a debut victory in Assam in 2016, and now has governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. It is also preparing to put up a strong fight against the ruling Left Front in the Tripura Assembly elections scheduled for February 2018.
Shah has also led the party to unprecedented victories in Maharashtra and Haryana. In both these states, the BJP won the polls after it decided to sever ties with old allies such as the Shiv Sena and Haryana Janhit Congress in the two states respectively. The emphatic Uttar Pradesh victory has also been the latest feather in Shah’s cap.
This dramatic change in BJP's electoral fortunes can perhaps be traced back to a membership drive that Shah undertook after taking charge as the party president. As Livemint reports, BJP crossed 100 million in 2015, the highest ever. It was the first attempt to transform the BJP into a mass-based political party, the report says, as before the launch of this campaign, the BJP had only 35 million members in its fold. Even with that number, it had succeeded in winning 171.6 million votes to etch its historic win in the 2014 general elections.
The BJP's political dominance, furthered with Shah’s tenure at the helm, made it the first party since the Congress in 1993, to be in power (either alone or in alliance with friendly parties) in 18 states — the BJP had never tasted power in seven of them — besides being at the helm in the Centre.
Shah's success is also a result of his efforts at building an organisational structure for the party through rallies, and public and private meetings. According to The Indian Express, Shah has been part of 800 organisational meetings at various levels for election micro-management in 16 states and 575 rallies or public meetings across the country over the last three years.
The 52-year-old Shah also has held more than 75 meetings for government-BJP coordination on various issues of governance like One Rank One Pension, land acquisition legislation, Jat reservation, NJAC, Yoga Day, MUDRA scheme among others during this period, Financial Express reported. In an attempt to maintain a good coordination between BJP and RSS, Shah also participated in more than 82 BJP-RSS meetings.
Shah is also known to be rough with Opposition parties, both during his rallies and on interviews to media houses. Business Standard reported that he looks at the Congress party, and some in the media, to have launched a witch hunt against him that first led to his imprisonment for three months and later a court decision kept him from entering Gujarat. The CBI case was related to his alleged role in the fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and others. “When you shoot at the king, you need to ensure that you finish him off. For if the King lives, he is sure to come after you,” a senior BJP leader says of the Congress-led UPA’s efforts to “fix” Modi and Shah and how the two are now on a mission to sound the death knell of the Congress party, the report added.
Currently, Shah’s efforts are focussed on expanding the BJP’s presence in a new set of states where it has never had a prominent presence: West Bengal, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, and for the bigger picture, on making the party "invincible".
Updated Date: Aug 10, 2017 17:22 PM