Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi's trusted aide Amit Shah, who was instrumental in the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) spectacular show in Uttar Pradesh, is likely to play a bigger role following the party's landslide victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
A party source said Shah, a BJP legislator from Naranpura (Gujarat), might be asked to resign from the state assembly and could be sent to Parliament from Vadodara, which would be vacated by Modi.
Particularly so, as Shah’s relations with new Gujarat chief minister Anandiben are said to be strained.
Shah, the BJP's UP-in-charge for the Elections 2014, helped the party bag 71 of the 80 seats in the state. Apart from Vadodara, Modi also won in Varanasi in UP, defeating Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal.
The BJP's performance in the Hindi heartlands of UP and Bihar (22 of the 40 seats) helped it register a huge win over all its political rivals. There is a big talk that Modi will retain Varanasi to help the party maintain its grip on Poorvanchal comprising eastern UP and parts of Bihar.
A senior BJP minister in Gujarat said, "It seems that Modi wants to give a free hand to (new chief minister) Anandiben to run the Gujarat affairs on her own. So in this scenario, it appears that Amitbhai will be in Lok Sabha from Vadodara after resigning from his assembly seat."
Shah, national general secretary of the party, may even get a larger responsibility, he added.
"He (Shah) was in charge of Uttar Pradesh where the party put up a superb show. Now, he may be asked to focus on Maharashtra where the state assembly polls will be held in October. Shah is also interested in wresting Maharashtra from the Congress-NCP alliance which is in power for 15 years."
A legislator close to Shah said he would play a key role in the organisational affairs of the party as Modi's point person, since BJP president Rajnath Singh was likely to join the new government at the Centre.
On Tuesday, while addressing party workers in his assembly constituency Maninagar, Modi had lavishly praised Shah, crediting him for scripting the party's victory in many states.
"Amit Shah ensured that the Congress did not win double digit seats in any state in the country."
Pointing out that new Gujarat CM Anandiben will be 77 by 2017, a Shah loyalist said, "He has chief ministerial ambitions, but he is just 51. So age is on his side. Therefore, he will wait for Anandiben's stint to get over. He is most likely to be the party's CM candidate in the next assembly polls in December 2017."
Shah has been a member of the state assembly since 1996 and was the junior home minister from January 2003 to July 2010, when he was arrested by the CBI in the Sohrabuddin encounter case.
He is facing a triple murder charge in the case which is being tried in a special CBI court in Mumbai.