The journey so far
Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah's journey from being a stockbroker to becoming the youngest president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is nothing short of a wonder. Today, as he is elected unopposed for his second term as the President of BJP, a lot rests on his shoulders to take the party forward on the national front.
Being one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi closest aides, Amit Shah's rise hasn't simply been on the success he achieved during the national elections. He is valued for his political mastery during the period of Modi's tenure as the Chief Minister of Gujarat where he worked as a junior minister. But success was not achieved without its own share of controversies as Shah got entangled in the Sohrabuddin murder case. He was also heavily criticised for his method of divisive politics.
However, it was this trusted lieutenant of Modi who went on to orchestrate PM Modi's victory in Uttar Pradesh during the elections of 2014 and delivering a record 73 of the 80 seats despite apprehensions from the top brass of the BJP. Once this result was achieved, Shah's elevation was a mere formality.
His other success story is when he won back Maharastra by understanding the mood on the ground level and playing the religious card and including smaller regional parties. His other triumphs include the electoral victories in Harayana, Jharkhand, and forming the co-coalition with the PDP in Jammu and Kasmir.
Losing the Midas touch
Amit Shah's winning formula and his Midas Touch were short-lived; he lost two consecutive elections in quick succession. First came Delhi where delaying the elections was a major setback. A widespread negative campaign against the AAP and a sort of harakiri by roping in Kiran Bedi as the Chief Ministerial candidate at the last minute meant that Shah had clearly lost the plot. This move boomeranged sharply and hit the master tactician on his face as the BJP ended up with just three seats.
It lead to a lot of dissent among BJP party workers as was widely speculated. Members of political circles felt that had Bedi not been chosen as CM candidate, the fortunes of Shah and his party might have taken a different turn. In the end, Amit Shah's strategy fell flat and helped AAP bag a resounding 67 seats and form the government in Delhi.
Next in line was Bihar which, in a way, provided an opportunity for Shah to redeem himself. A glitzy campaign with powerful national leaders like Ram Vilas Paswan backing the BJP did not yield the result that Shah was hoping for.
Making matters worse was that the 'Modi Wave' had also come to a grinding halt. A lack of local leaders along with attempts of polarisation saw BJP head towards another spiral of failure.
Statements such as "Diwali would be celebrated in Pakistan if BJP loses" by Shah only ensured that the RJD-JDU alliance, spearheaded by Nitish Kumar, achieved a landslide victory. Modi's announcement of a package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore to Bihar, right before the elections, could not save BJP from biting the dust.
The road ahead
Over the next three years, the BJP along with Amit Shah will face several challenges with as many as five states such as Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and West Bengal going to elections. After the drubbing in Delhi and the debacle in Bihar, the onus on Amit Shah to deliver will be even higher.
In Assam and West Bengal, the master tactician will hope that his party will make some sort of a mark as other parties look to oust them. Whether the Amit Shah formula will work or a new method be devised is something that remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, the BJP's 'Margdarshak Mandal' comprising senior leaders like LK Advani and MM Joshi was conspicuously absent during Shah 's coronation in New Delhi today.
The road ahead
Over the next three years, the BJP along with Amit Shah will face several challenges with as many as five states like the ones in Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal going into elections. After the drubbing in Delhi and the debacle in Bihar the onus on Amit Shah to deliver will be even higher.
In Assam and West Bengal master tactician will hope that his party make some sort of a mark as other party's look to oust them. Whether the Amit Shah formula will work or a new method be devised is something that remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, the BJP's 'Margdarshak Mandal' comprising of senior leaders like LK Advani and MM Joshi were conspicuously missing during the coronation of Amit Shah as the president held today in Delhi.