The kingmaker is now party ‘king’

New Delhi :  True to his style Prime Minister Narendra Modi has acquired direct and full control of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The ruling party has a new president — Amit Shah.

Apart from other proven abilities, Shah has one USP that Modi values more than anything else — zero trust deficit; once Modi led the party to a historic win in the 2014 general elections, Shah’s coronation was just a formality. Other names like J P Nadda did float in the air for some time, but these were just a part of the speculative engagement that dominates politics.

The BJP-RSS combine does practice the one-man-one-post norm rather scrupulously. So once the incumbent president Rajnath Singh was included in the union cabinet as home minister his days in the organization were numbered. Singh had acknowledged Modi’s primacy much before the electoral victory, and was playing second fiddle to him. Interestingly, confirming his secondary status, there have been reports that he has been named as the party’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha as well.

The formality of elevating Shah from the status of a general secretary to the party president was completed with minimum fuss this afternoon. Rajnath duly convened a meeting of the party’s parliament board and submitted his resignation. Thereafter Shah was nominated the president within minutes. Then there was the public spectacle of Rajnath making the declaratory statement that 14 months ago he had accepted the responsibility with a ‘heavy heart’ due to the unfortunate circumstances in which the then president Nitin Gadkari had to step down following ‘baseless allegations’ of corruption.

He also paid lavish compliments to the ‘organisational and management  skills’ of his successor and lauded him for his spectacular success in Uttar Pradesh crediting him for getting 73 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in that state.

Shah’s elevation marks the completion of the formality of Modi’s complete control over the BJP apparatus. Considering that two new RSS functionaries — Ram Madhav and Shiv Prakash — are being deputed to the party, it would be expected that a new team of office bearers replete with the Modi stamp would be coming in.

Having established itself as a party in power at the centre, the BJP now looks forward to capitalizing this position of advantage into gains in states like Maharashtra and Haryana that go to polls within a few months.

While going ahead with his plans for Shah and BJP, Modi seems to have clearly discounted the possibility of any adverse fall-out from the pending court cases that involve his former home minister, and is quite firm that they would be able to ride any storm that may emerge at a later date.

Anil Sharma

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