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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

‘His social engineering skills are an asset’

Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hitender Rao and Rai Atul Krishna, Hindustan Times  Mumbai/Chandigarh/Patna, July 10, 2014
First Published: 00:41 IST(10/7/2014) | Last Updated: 00:44 IST(10/7/2014)

Ace BJP strategist Amit Shah’s elevation as party president has boosted the hopes of BJP leaders and cadres in Maharashtra and Haryana where assembly polls are likely to be held by October and in Bihar, which goes to the polls by November 2015.

Party will be more aggressive in Maharashtra
After the death of the BJP’s Maharashtra strongman Gopinath Munde last month, partymen in the state are looking up to Shah to steer them to a convincing victory in the assembly polls. “Shah has great social engineering skills which will surely work for us just like they did in the Lok Sabha elections,” said state BJP leader Vinod Tawde.

 Shah’s appointment as BJP chief, however, may not be great news for the Shiv Sena, which has been asserting itself on seat-sharing for the assembly polls and on whom to project as the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate.

 Under Shah, the state unit of the BJP is certain to be more aggressive.  “Shah is a shrewd man and unlike Munde will create awkwardness for the Sena. He has a tainted past and will prove to be difficult for them,” said political analyst Surendra Jondhale.

But Sena leader Subhash Desai ruled out any such situation. “Uddhavji has spoken to him and just like in the Lok Sabha polls, we will fight the state elections together and win,” he said.

Haryana plan in the works
In Haryana, Shah and his team are already preparing a polling booth-wise blueprint for the assembly elections due in October.  Shah is unlikely to tinker with the party hierarchy in Haryana, party sources said. “He will focus primarily on strengthening the organisation structure in the state,” said a Haryana BJP leader.

“He will concentrate on each assembly seat and polling booth. Working out the strengths and shortcomings of the BJP candidates in each constituency will be done before the party fields its candidates,” BJP sources said.

Countering caste politics in Bihar
Faced with the possibility of having to contest next year’s assembly polls against a potentially formidable RJD-JD(U) alliance, Shah’s elevation as party chief is just what the BJP in Bihar wanted to hear.

“No other person is better qualified to overwhelm casteist politics through social engineering,” said Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi, who has known Shah for 30 years.

“Shah will not only play a vital role in making the party poll-fit and devise the strategy, he will help select candidates with the best winning potential,” said Bihar BJP president Mangal Pandey.


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