Amit Shah has been a shadow of Narendra Modi for years together. A trusted lieutenant and confidante of the then Gujarat chief minister and present prime minister, the shrewd politician could not only read Modi’s mind but also execute the strategies of the boss with near perfection. He was rewarded for loyalty and the stupendous returns from Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 Lok Sabha election all right, but the long partnership played an equally deciding role. Shah’s transfer to the Rajya Sabha, following Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s dramatic resignation and decision to come back to power in that State the very next day with the support of the BJP, is, therefore, surprising. While the businessman-turned-politician has accomplished a lot as the BJP president, war in politics is never over. Till the time Modi remains the prime minister, there cannot be a better man in that position.
Being thoroughly democratic, the BJP has internally also been a noisy party. All its meetings used to be marked by disagreements, dissent notes, arguments, etc ― albeit with the discipline that the leader’s decision would be final ― until Shah rose to the helm. For the last three years, these meetings observed an eerie, pin drop silence. The awe for the leadership was palpable even as one passed through the corridor where one of the halls held the party meet. So much so, Shah got away by heaping insults on several wannabes in the party, the discourteousness one does not associate with politics of that high a level. While the next BJP president will have to enjoy Modi’s confidence too, where will the newbie get the brains and aura that came with Shah, and the total subjugation of other leaders under him? If or when dissidence of the yesteryears comes back to haunt the party, Modi might regret his decision of 26 July 2017.