The BJP president Amit Shah couldn’t have asked for more on Thursday. Just when election trends showed the BJP cruising to a scintillating victory in Assam and expanding its footprint in other states, he got a letter from Murli Manohar Joshi, a member of the party’s Margdarshak Mandal, which had attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah after the BJP’s dismal show in Bihar elections last year.
“The strategy adopted and hardwork of workers has resulted in bringing about a revolutionary change in the country’s polity,” Joshi wrote voicing hope that it will give the workers confidence to replicate the same in the upcoming elections, especially in Uttar Pradesh.
But, to get even his detractors on his side, the BJP chief had to do a lot of spadework and draw flak in the process. When he decided to rope in Assam strongman Himanta Biswa Sharma, the friend-turned-foe of chief minister Tarun Gogoi, many of his party colleagues doubted the strategy.
For, scandals surrounding Sharma, a shrewd politician, had powered BJP’s campaign against Congress in Assam for over a decade and crafting him into the party was a risky proposition.
After joining the BJP in August last year, Sharma became integral to BJP’s campaign against Gogoi. As Congress’ troubleshooter in Assam, Sharma knew Gogoi’s strength and weaknesses, something which came handy to Shah.
Even when alliance talks with Asom Gana Parishad was on the brinks, Shah held on to his nerves and kept channel of communication open which worked.
Bengal was no different. Knowing well that BJP wasn’t in the race to form the government, Shah played to party’s strength in the eastern state. BJP’s ideological mentor, the RSS, was consulted in advance and a Sangh pracharak was chosen as state president.
The strategy in Kerala was similar and two-pronged. It meticulously worked out coordination between the RSS and the BJP. Also, alliances were formed with influential social groups among Hindus, such as BDJS of Nairs. The BJP opened its account in Kerala for the first time.