Amit Shah: The master strategist behind BJP's glorious win in Western UP, a politically challenging territory for saffron party

Kaiwant Shah Kajol PravinaUpdated: Saturday, March 12, 2022, 05:49 PM IST
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Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath | ANI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retained power with a thumping majority in Uttar Pradesh. The party won 255 seats with a vote share of 41.4 per cent, paving the way for Yogi Adityanath to become the chief minister of the state for a second consecutive term.

The saffron-clad leader also won from his bastion Gorakhpur by a margin of over one lakh votes. The monk in his speech thanked the Prime Minister, party chief JP Nadda and Amit Shah, the man behind the curtains who helped capture the most difficult fortress, Western UP.

How has Shah contributed to the state's win?

During the first COVID-19 wave, migrant workers were worst affected, most paving their way back home on foot to states like UP and Bihar. At that time, Shah questioned the grain stocks in Food Corporation of Indian's (FCI) godowns. Shah, in a cabinet meeting, suggested to distribute the grains to those affected due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown. “As the home minister of the country, I assure the public again that there is enough stock of food, medicines and other commodities in the country. No one should worry about that. I also request the affluent people to come forward and help the poor living nearby,” Shah had said in series of tweets.


Food security for the vulnerable

The Free Ration Scheme- Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)- which was introduced in the first COVID-19 relief package from April 2020, is continued till today. The PMGKAY provides more than 80 crore ration card holders with five kg each of rice or wheat a month free of cost, in addition to the five kg which they are eligible for on a subsidised basis under the National Food Security Act. The scheme cuts the caste and religion gap and unites the voter as the vote bank was the brainchild of Amit Shah.

Farmer's friend or foe?

When UP Assembly elections were closing in and internal surveys of BJP were showing worrisome results, BJP sent their three senior most leaders on the field. BJP President JP Nadda, Ex-UP CM and current defence minister Rajnath Singh, and Home Minister Amit Shah.

Each one of them was assigned duties of respective regions JP Nadda with Kanpur and Gorakhpur regions, Rajnath Singh with Eastern UP, and Amit Shah was asked to take upon the challenge of Western UP, where the Punjab, Haryana and Western UP farmer groups were at that time, still protesting over the now withdrawn controversial three farm laws.

On Guru Purab, PM Modi repealed the three farm laws. Now, the task was in the hands of a man who had nurtured and worked in this region from 2012-13. From detaching Jaat- Muslim combination which worked for SP and RLD for the longest time which won them the majority of seats in Western UP to the Muzaffarnagar riots, and post-riot social arithmetic changed the scope of Western UP for a long shot. Amit Shah then started ground-level coordination with Jat leaders, Khap leaders and we all saw the victories of 2014 Lok Sabha, 2017 UP state polls and again 2019 Lok Sabha. As a result, BJP received 90 plus per cent votes from the Jat community.

Caste Card

Post farmer's agitation, there was one thing clear- a dent in Jat votes and hence, BJP started anti-polarising against the dominant Jat caste group in the state. Along with that, due to constraints put by Election Commission in the view of COVID-19 pandemic, Shah started his door-to-door campaign from Kairana and covered the whole of Western UP, along the way meeting all the non-aligned Jat leaders. “There are many possibilities after the polls. For now, he has chosen a party. BJP's doors are always open for him.”, Shah had said, pointing towards RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary.

There is angst but the anti-polarization and Shah's attempt to reach out to the Jat leaders, who are not yet influenced, has shown these results. BJP has won 91 out 136 seats of Western UP region

BJP has won, Yogi has won and now there is one more claimant to the highest chair in BJP. The same chair is eyed equally by now the second in command, Amit Shah.

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