Amid the speculations that were going round the table to appoint Shah who is a close and controversial aide of Modi as the BJP President last month the BJP finally announced him as the BJP President. This move came in after Rajnath Singh resigned after a one and half year’s tenure. Shah who was the former Minister of State for Home in Gujarat was solely responsible for BJP's excellent performance in UP where it got 71 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats. He is currently facing charges in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.
Amit Shah is an Indian politician from Gujarat. Shah was elected as an MLA from Sarkhej in four consecutive elections 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2007. He is a close associate of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and held a number of portfolios in Government of Gujarat, when Modi was the Chief Minister. In 2010, Shah was accused of orchestrating a fake police encounter, which happened during his tenure as the Gujarat Home Minister. He was forced to resign, and arrested. Shah maintains that all the accusations against him are false, and are the result of allegations by his political opponents belonging to the Indian National Congress. Shah was later granted bail, on the condition that he will not stay in Gujarat. He was allowed to return to Gujarat in 2012, and won Assembly elections from Naranpura.
Shah was born in Mumbai, in a well-to-do family. His father Anilchandra Shah, a businessman from Mansa, owned a successful PVC pipe business. Amit Shah is married to Sonal Shah they have a son named Jay. His wife is a homemaker and son an engineer. Shah was very close to his mother, who died from an illness in 2010. People close to Amit Shah say he does not like to socialize much.
Shah was involved with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh since childhood. He first met Narendra Modi in 1982, in the Ahmedabad RSS circles when Modi was a minor RSS pracharak working as in charge of youth activities in the city. Amit Shah started his political career as a leader of RSS's student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad in 1983. He joined BJP in 1986, one year before Modi joined the party. He then gradually rose in the BJYM hierarchy, holding various posts including that of ward secretary, taluka secretary, state secretary, vice-president, and general secretary.
In 1995 when BJP formed its first government in Gujarat its main rival Indian National Congress was highly influential in rural Gujarat. Modi and Shah worked together to decimate Congress in the rural areas. Their strategy was to find the second most influential leader in every village, and get him or her to join BJP. Shah and Modi used the same strategy to reduce Congress' influence over the state's powerful co-operatives, which play an important role in the state's economy.
In 1999, Shah was elected as the President of Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB), the biggest cooperative bank in India. In Gujarat where such elections had traditionally been won on the caste considerations Shah was the first to win despite not belonging to any of these castes. When he took over the bank was on the verge of collapsing with accumulated losses of 36 crore. Shah turned around the bank's fortune within a year's time and the next year, the bank registered a profit of 27 crore. By 2014, the bank's profit had increased to around 250 crore.
Modi, who had become a general secretary in the party's state unit by the early 1990s, used his influence to get bigger roles for Shah. Amit Shah contested the 2002 Assembly election from the Sarkhej constituency in Ahmedabad. He won by the highest margin among all candidates with 158,036 votes. In the 2007 Assembly election he again won from Sarkhej. During Narendra Modi's twelve-year tenure as the Gujarat CM, Shah emerged as one of the most powerful leaders in Gujarat. After winning the 2002 elections, he became the youngest minister in the Modi government, and was given multiple portfolios.
In 2010, Amit Shah was accused of having orchestrated the extrajudicial killings of a criminal Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and his criminal associate Tulsiram Prajapati. Shah and Modi have been accused of sidelining the police officers who testified against the Gujarat government in cases related to the fake encounters and the 2002 riots. Later, in 2013, Shah was accused of having ordered illegal surveillance on a woman in 2009, during his tenure as a home minister. The investigative websites Cobrapost and Gulail released a set of taped audio conversations between Amit Shah and police officer GL Singhal. Shah denied all the accusations against him, calling them political propaganda by his opponents and none have been proved till now. Amit Shah was arrested on 25 July 2010 in connection with the Sohrabuddin case. He was charged with the murder, extortion and kidnapping among other charges. At one time, Shah was considered as one of the main contenders for the Gujarat Chief Minister's post. However, his political career was hurt by the arrest. The Gujarat High Court granted him bail three months after his arrest, on Friday, 29 October 2010.
Shah is known for his sharp poll-related strategic skills. Very few people know that if terror attacks in India are under check today, Shah's role in solving the 2008 Ahmadabad bomb blasts by Indian Mujahideen terrorists as Gujarat Minister of State for Home is one of the main factors responsible for it. Gujarat Police officials openly admit even today that it was Shah's intelligence and diligence and Modi's unstinted guidance that enabled them in solving that case in record 21 days flat. Narendra Modi was impressed by his intelligence and vision which is not easily found in others. Shah's skill in political strategy and vision are almost legendary. The way he evaluates Modi's 12-year rule in Gujarat in economic terms is better than a good economist. How he brought the entire cooperative sector of Gujarat from Congress to BJP's fold is a tribute to his result-oriented strategy-making skills. Shah has one big flaw that has hindered his rise. He has a habit of remaining incommunicable for long periods which keeps him disconnected at crucial times.
He has started his work as the BJP chief and following the lines of Modi on Saturday announced his new team of 11 vice presidents, eight general secretaries and 14 secretaries. He has kept his team members young and inducted those who are having experience too. However What has shocked many after the announcement of the list is that the two-time MP Varun Gandhi was dropped as general secretary. This has also led to raising of eyebrows as the party has at many occasions claimed that they believe young people can lead the nation in a better way. As per reports, the reason behind dropping a known face of the party in UP is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi follows a policy of not giving any important assignment to a son or daughter of a chief minister or a union minister and Varun Gandhi's mother, Maneka Gandhi is the Union Cabinet Minister for Women and Child Development in his government. The sources within BJP have said that it is largely because of Narendra Modi's policy against nepotism that is why Varun Gandhi has not been included in the team by Amit Shah and are confident as there are many opportunities in the party the party will look into his caliber and adjust him accordingly.
The journey for him as the BJP president has just started and there is a long way to go. Being a close aide to Modi and learning a lot from him one question to be asked is Will he be able to successfully do justice as the BJP Chief? What is your take on this? Is he capable enough to take this responsibility or he was supported by all the members of the party for the fact that he is close to Modi since the starting of their political career?