Shah will drive a hard bargain with Sena

Mumbai :  The State BJP unit is happy at the appointment of Amit Shah as the party president at the national level. One, they are enthused at the prospect of replay of the spectacular performance in UP; but the real reason is, with Shah in place, the party will be able to assert itself more vis-a-vis the Shiv Sena; the latter, at least, will have a reduced leverage during negotiations on Assembly seats and the like.

In the early days of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the overwhelming presence of Bal Thackeray ensured that the Sena was able to negotiate with the BJP from a position of strength. The equation changed somewhat after the BJP secured more numbers in both the houses of the state legislature. But the relations were still not on an even keel at the negotiation table.

Incidentally, Uddhav had a very good rapport with Rajnath Singh and Singh, like  many other senior BJP leaders, focused only on the ‘larger picture’. “We expect the equations to change now,” a senior party functionary told the FPJ.

From devising the campaign strategy and selecting candidates to booth management, Shah’s mobilisation tactics for Uttar Pradesh have set a new political benchmark. The state BJP leadership hopes to replicate this mobilisation in Maharashtra. No wonder, there was a festive atmosphere in the party’s Mumbai office after the announcement of Shah’s appointment.

“For Maharashtra elections we needed someone like Gopinath Munde, who is a master of social engineering. We now have such a leader in Amit Shah. He understands Maharashtra politics well. His guidance will help us win elections,” Leader of opposition in the state legislative council Vinod Tawde said.

The president of the Mumbai unit of the BJP, Ashish Shelar, feels that, being a grass root worker, Shah is the ‘best person’ to win the hearts of people belonging to the backward classes and that will help the party swing the Assembly election in the party’s favour.

Abhijit Mulye

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