Amit Shah: BJP’s ’emerging’ torchbearer

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New Delhi, Jan. 24 (ANI): With Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah set to begin his second innings as the party chief, here are his list of positives and negatives:-

Shah’s positive image:

1. Close confidante of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – It surely gives him an edge as he enjoys the Prime Minister’s trust. He first met Modi in 1982, 33 years ago, in the Ahmedabad RSS circles. At that time, Modi was a minor RSS pracharak, working as in-charge of youth activities in the city.

2. He is known to be a key strategist and organiser. He was one leader, who gained the most from the ‘Modi-wave’ during the 2014 general elections.

3. In December 2002, when Modi first beat the Congress to win a record 126 seats in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly; Shah won by the highest margin of votes, over 1.58 lakh and even higher than Modi himself.

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4. Shah can be named the architect of the party’s Uttar Pradesh revival plan. The party, under Shah’s leadership, took in its kitty 71 of the 80 seats in the 2014 general elections.

5. After he replaced Rajnath Singh and took over as the party president, he took over the herculean task and won the Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls.

6. During Modi’s twelve-year tenure as the Gujarat chief minister, Shah emerged as one of the most powerful leaders in the state. At one time, he held 12 portfolios: Home, Law and Justice, Prison, Border Security, Civil Defence, Excise, Transport, Prohibition, Home Guards, Gram Rakshak Dal, Police Housing, and Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs.

Shah’s detrimental times:-

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1. The BJP’s recent debacle in the Delhi and Bihar polls is sure to remain a taint in Shah’s presidential career.

2. One cannot ignore the criminal ‘fake-encounter’ case against him. In 2010, Shah was accused of having planned the killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and his criminal associate Tulsiram Prajapati. Shah was jailed for three months in Gujarat in 2010 before getting bail from the Supreme Court.

3. Shah’s fellow ministers have often said that he was remote and autocratic as the Home Minister. Some also called him arrogant and accused him of not bothering to keep the best of personal relations with his colleagues.

4. Shah played an important role in convincing the Narendra Modi government to pass the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, which made religious conversions difficult in the Hindu-majority state. His opponents argued that the Act went against the rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, but Shah defended the bill, calling it a measure against forced conversions.

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5. In 2013, Shah was accused of having ordered illegal surveillance on a woman in 2009, during his tenure as the Home Minister. The BJP’s political opponents demanded a probe in this ‘Snoopgate’ case. However, in May 2014, the woman approached the Supreme Court and stated that the surveillance on her was based on a personal request.

6. Shah’s name was also involved in the fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan and three others in 2004. He was, however, given a clean chit by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Shah’s current term ended yesterday and the new term will be his first full-term lasting three years. (ANI)

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