Video Producer: Debayan Dutta
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Union Home Minister Amit Shah completed five years as president of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday, 9 July. In 2014, Shah became the tenth person, and the youngest one till date, to head the party at the national level.
Through his long association with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, going back to their days in the Gujarat BJP, Shah gained the former’s trust and became his de-facto right hand man.
His elevation as BJP chief was both the result of this trust as well as a reward for the party’s massive sweep in one of India’s most crucial states – Uttar Pradesh.
With Shah as the general secretary in-charge, BJP won 71 out of 80 seats in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Its ally, Apna Dal, won two.
As BJP president, Shah has replicated this success across the country. Under him, the BJP captured power in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Himachal Pradesh and Tripura.
The party even managed to become part of ruling alliances in Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
Shah’s biggest success, though, is the BJP’s expansion in the Northeast – where it was virtually non-existent.
But Shah earned the moniker ‘Chanakya’ for his role in guiding the BJP to power in states where it failed to win a clear mandate.
In Arunachal Pradesh, most MLAs from the ruling Congress dramatically split from the party and eventually defected to the BJP
In Bihar, Nitish Kumar left the Mahagathbandhan and joined the NDA. In Goa and Manipur, BJP managed to form the government despite having less MLAs than the Congress.
But Shah's journey was not without setbacks, like the 67:3 drubbing at the hands of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi and the Congress’ win in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh last year.
Shah's name cropped up in several controversies as well such as the death of Judge BH Loya and the massive rise in the annual turnover of a company owned by his son Jay Shah.
But all these did not stop his mission of expanding the BJP's influence.
His biggest triumph came in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections – with BJP winning 303 seats, the highest by any party since 1984.
As a reward, Shah was made PM Modi’s new home minister.
When Rajnath Singh had become home minister in 2014, he had to resign as BJP president. But Shah has retained both positions for the time being, making him effectively the second most powerful man in the country.
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