Given his spartan habits, much unlike most political bosses, and his skilled manipulation to secure the party’s fortunes, he is truly the Boss!
AMIT SHAH is a man of much action and few words. He is the national president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the Midas Touch. He was instrumental in getting unprecedented majority on its own during 2014 Parliamentary elections. Shah as in charge of Uttar Pradesh during Lok Sabha polls won for the party and its ally Apna Dal 73 out of total 80 seats from the state.
During his presidentship, the party has contested seven assembly elections winning four of them. The BJP formed its government in four of them – Jharkhand, Assam, Maharashtra and Haryana - while it became part of coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, getting Deputy Chief Minister’s post. Significantly, BJP was never part of a government in J&K and had never formed a government on its own in Assam, Maharashtra and Haryana. It was always part of a coalition. Under Amit Shah, the party broke its 25-years old alliance with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, contested alone and proved its mettle.
The only two states which BJP could not win were Bihar and Delhi. Though the party could not form its government in these states yet it didn’t lose its vote bank. The BJP has secured 16.5 per cent votes during 2010 assembly elections in Bihar. Under Amit Shah’s charismatic leadership, the party bagged eight per cent more votes – 24.4 per cent – during 2016 Vidhan Sabha elections. Yet, it lost out to because of a heightened index of opposition unity (IOU) because of JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance.
A similar story was repeated in Delhi where after suffering a crushing defeat during Lok Sabha polls – losing all seven seats – Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party regrouped and created such an atmosphere that people handed it over all but two seats during 2015 Delhi Assembly elections. The significant part of the story missed by the mainstream media was that the BJP didn’t lose even one per cent vote in the process. The BJP had won 33 per cent votes during 2013 elections while it secured 32.2 per cent votes during 2015 polls. Such performances don’t come easy. Shah is a full time leader who has little pleasures and vocations other than politics. He walks, talks and even sleeps Politics.
He travels a lot, across the length and breadth of the country, organising party functions, addressing workers, encouraging and invigorating them. Shah has been travelling an average of 495 km per day, totalling 4,28,950 km in his 29 month tenure.
Like his leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shah too is a man of spartan habits. He likes having simple Gujarati food and doesn’t travel by chartered flights. He also discourages use of private planes by party officials for travel, other than during elections. He himself travels by regular flights. He doesn’t stay in expensive hotels, rather preferring simple Government guest houses. Setting an example himself he encourages his party officials to stay in state government guest houses during their travel.
Another practice initiated by Amit Shah is to have an overnight stay in the city he visits for party work. This allows him to have a longer and wider interactive session with local party workers. He has stayed overnight in almost 80 per cent of his visits.
Such perseverance and hard work is reflected in impressive figures Shah has drummed out. During last two and a half years since he became BJP president Shah has increased party membership by astoundingly five times - from 2.47 crore to well over 12 crore. Considering an average family has five members, it means about 60 crore people or almost half of country’s population is directly or indirectly influenced by BJP’s ideology.
He has paid special attention to states like Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana besides north-eastern states where BJP was traditionally not strong. The results have already started showing in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. In West Bengal, BJP has emerged as the second strongest party after Trinamool Congress and has shown tremendous improvement in its performances in local bodies elections in other states as well.
Amit Shah is bracing for another battle due in February-March next year. That of Assembly elections in five states -Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. BJP is tipped to do well in most of these states especially in Uttar Pradesh where Shah led the party to bag 42 per cent votes in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Shah’s political acumen was at test during the Arunachal Pradesh crisis
BJP was never a part of J&K government till Shah took over as party prez
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