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Aug 07, 2017 04:43 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Amit Shah: Three years as BJP chief, Modi's Man Friday is only just getting started

The 52-year-old has had a immensely successful run as the BJP president. Under his stewardship, the 'Lotus' has bloomed across the country.

Amit Shah completed three years as the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday.

While his tenure is not the longest among all the BJP presidents, the three-year period has yielded astonishing results for India's ruling party.

In July 2014, just two months after a landslide win in the Lok Sabha elections, BJP's Central Parliamentary Board approved Shah's appointment as the party president.

Having assumed power at the Centre, BJP’s next area of focus was the state assembly elections across the country, hoping to capitalise on the "Modi wave". And Shah has delivered.

About Amit Shah

Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah was born in Mumbai in 1964 in a business family. Shah studied in the Mehsana district of Gujarat and then completed a Bachelor of Science in Ahmedabad.

He participated in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activities since his childhood, but formally became a member of the organisation only when he was in college.

Shah joined the BJP in 1986 and quickly rose through the ranks. In 1991, Shah campaigned for Lal Krishna Advani in the Lok Sabha election and in 1995, Shah and Narendra Modi were tasked with decimating the Congress in the rural areas of Gujarat.

He was elected to the Gujarat Assembly for the first time in 1997 and remained there until 2014 when he moved to New Delhi.

A close confidant of Modi, he became the youngest minister (38) in the state cabinet in 2002. At one point, he was even entrusted with as many as 12 portfolios including home affairs, justice and transport.

Shah is credited with engineering the BJP's win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Being part of the campaign committee, he was given the responsibility of strategising and executing the party's plans for the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, which sends the most MPs to the Lok Sabha. Under his leadership, the BJP managed to win 71 out of the 80 seats in the state.

BJP under Shah's command

The 52-year-old has had a successful run as the BJP president. Under his stewardship, the 'Lotus' has bloomed across the country.

He started a membership campaign that made BJP the world's largest political party in March 2015 with 100 million members, nearly trebling the 35 million at the start of the campaign.

Shah has travelled more than 5.6 lakh kilometres across India as part of 303 tours and has visited 315 out of the country's 680 districts.

Since his early days as a politician, Shah used the strategy of finding the second most influential leader in a constituency and convincing him or her to join the BJP. The same strategy has resulted into several members of legislative assemblies and former members of parliament defecting to the BJP across the country.

During his tenure, the party achieved tremendous success in several state elections. The party was also able to make inroads into states such as West Bengal, Kerala and Odisha where it had tasted little or no success in years before.

Shah has spearheaded several election campaigns. Between 2014 and 2016, the party won elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Assam. In 2017, BJP registered wins in Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Uttarakhand and retained power in Goa.

In Uttar Pradesh, the party and its allies bagged 325 out of the assembly's 403 seats, in what was their most comprehensive victory in 30 years.

During the same period, the party also suffered defeats in Delhi, Bihar and Punjab.

Prior to Shah taking over as the BJP president, the party ruled in six states. By July 2017, their rule has grown to 18 states, with the help of allies and strategic political manoeuvres.

These 18 states include Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, where the party's presence had been negligible earlier.

Next step

In May, Shah embarked on a nationwide tour spanning over five months. The one lakh kilometre tour includes organisational visits to all of the 29 states and seven Union Territories. He is meeting state leaders, party workers and voters with the aim of strengthening the party ahead of the 2019 general elections.

After a successful three-year term, the "Shah of BJP" is now contesting the Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat on Tuesday. Because of the two-thirds majority the party enjoys in the state, he is expected to sail through comfortably.

Shah has said that he will not be quitting his post as BJP President even after becoming a member of the Upper House. It now remains to be seen if Prime Minister Modi's closest confidant is awaiting a bigger role at the Centre.​

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