Amit Shah as UP CM in 2017? BJP’s miracle worker returns to state for by-polls

24 June-2014, Firstpost: In an indication of how seriously the Bharatiya Janata Party is going to take party-building activities during the tenure of the NDA government, party general secretary Amit Shah, also tipped to be the next party president, is back in Uttar Pradesh, camping there to oversee the party’s pitch for the coming bypolls to 12 Assembly seats later this year. Meanwhile, the party is already preparing for Assembly polls that are actually scheduled only for 2017.
Having won 73 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and its allies have already pushed the state’s major parties to the margins. The Congress barely hung on to the Gandhi family pocket boroughs of Rae Bareli and Amethi. The other party reduced to a family-only outfit in the elections was the Samajwadi Party which, despite ruling the state since 2012, managed to win just five constituencies in the state, all represented by family members of Mulayam Singh Yadav. The SP supremo himself won two constituencies, of which Mainpuri will soon go to a bypoll too. Mayawati’s BSP returned a grand tally of zero.

Amit Shah as UP CM in 2017? BJP’s miracle worker returns to state for by-polls

Amit Shah as UP CM in 2017? BJP's miracle worker returns to state for by-polls

Amit Shah is seen along with Mulayam Singh Yadav at the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Not content with resting on those laurels, the party has despatched Shah to Uttar Pradesh once again, to repeat the unprecedented success of the general election in the by-polls. A report in The Economic Times said the party is, incredibly, also strategising to shore up its presence in the seven constituencies where it lost — that means in the family constituencies of the Yadavs and the Gandhis.
The report said Shah, in consultation with senior party leaders in the state, has appointed coordinators for each of these seven Lok Sabha constituencies, including MP and Gorakhpur strongman Yogi Adityanath for Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Azamgarh and senior RSS man Kalraj Mishra for Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli.

“During the BJP campaign, Amit Shah had drawn flak from rival parties when he had called Azamgarh a den of terrorists,” the report pointed out. Adityanath, mahant of the Gorakhpur mutt, has long been a rabble rouser on issues of Pakistan and cross-border terrorism.
The BJP has also upped the ante against the Samajwadi Party in recent weeks with loud protests and walkouts in the UP Assembly over the state’s deteriorating law and order situation. Three BJP leaders have also been killed in Uttar Pradesh in the past weeks, providing a context for continuing clashes between SP and BJP workers outside the Vidhan Bhavan and elsewhere in the state.
An earlier report on Firstpost has argued that clashes and confrontation between political activists will continue over coming months as the bypolls draw closer.
The elections will come just as Akhilesh Yadav completes two years as the country’s youngest chief minister. He will know, no doubt, that the Samajwadi Party finds its support base deeply eroded during that time.
The SP and BSP may have occupied the political space vacated by the Congress and the BJP in the early 2000s — 2002, 2007 and 2012 Assembly elections in UP saw the two main national parties cede top spot to either of these two regional parties. “But the SP’s old MAJGAR (Muslim, Ahir, Jat, Gujjar, Rajput) alliance is now a thing of the past. With the Muzaffarnagar riots and the aftermath having spiralled out of control, probably well beyond the imagination of the state government…” the report said.
This is the background against which Amit Shah effected the never before win for the BJP in the country’s largest state, using a clever combination of identity politics, caste calculations and the development-for-all promise.
The sheer scale of his success in UP and the overall acknowledgement that he may be able to lead the party’s resurgence in other parts of the country and also establish it in areas where the party has poor visibility has led to Shah becoming the frontrunner for the position of party president.
A report in The Times of India says it could be Shah, not JP Nadda as earlier speculated.
Shah’s success in dealing with intractable party seniors would need to be replicated at an all-India level, the report says. That gives Shah the edge over Nadda, despite reservations in some sections of the party over the PM and the party boss belonging to the same state.
But it’s not the party president’s job alone that Shah’s supporters are pitching for. Even as Shah gets busy planning for another round of elections in UP, supporters have reportedly flooded social media with demands that Shah make a pitch to be next chie fminister of Uttar Pradesh.
A report in The Indian Express points to Facebook pages run by BJP supporters making a case rather early for leaders of their choice to be projected as CM candidate in 2017 when the state goes to polls. While MP Varun Singh has the most such pages dedicated to him, five pages support Amit Shah as the CM candidate too. Among the other leaders whose supporters are running such FB pages are Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj, Yogi Adityanath, Kalyan Singh and Rajveer Singh.

Posted by on June 24, 2014. Filed under Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.