Amitbhai Anilchandra ‘Amit’ Shah, the latest star of the Sangh Parivar, began his UP stint as the BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi’s advance guard with a sharp — a little too clever maybe —slogan: Amit ka haq Anwar ko kyon (Why should Anwar rob Amit of his right)?
Beginning his innings with attacking the minority appeasement policies of the SP government, Shah chose to move to picking on the BSP by sending 403 GPRS chariots in as many assembly segments, especially in the Dalit and OBC- dominated localities.
The result: "In fact, from being ranked the number four party in 2012, we are suddenly being talked about as the favourites. This turnaround has come in a record time and Shah deserves the credit for this," says state BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak.
As electioneering peaks in UP —from where the Parivar is hoping for a windfall this summer —Shah is in regular touch with the party’s rank and file despite the Election Commission gag on him for delivering provocative speeches.
"From finalising the strategy from the booth level to keeping track of the campaign tactics of other parties, he has shown amazing organisational ability," says Mahendra Singh, a party MLC.
The youths, who man the party’s call centre at its Lucknow headquarters, collect feedbacks on campaigning and dutifully mail them to select top leaders. Shah then analyses the data and shoots his take to the cadres whose names and complete details he carries in his laptop.
What’s more, Modi’s chief strategist has shown why he was picked up for the job. Ahead of the first phase of polls in 10 seats – Muzaffarnagar was one of them – in western UP, Shah cashed in on the Jat-Muslim enmity and cleverly played on the Jat pride.
“Since he spoke about taking revenge through the ballot, we hope to win at least seven of the 10 seats in the region,” a party worker said.
What’s more, on his watch, the BJP has identified 6 lakh ‘what’s app’ users in the state, a sizeable number of them being in the state capital from where party chief Rajnath Singh is contesting.