New Delhi: The man of the hour in the BJP besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi is party president Amit Shah. Architect of BJP's historic win in UP during the Lok Sabha elections, Mr Shah has emerged as the most successful president of the BJP so far. After poll results, he credited Mr Modi's pro-poor policies for the party's stupendous performance in the Assembly elections, including in Uttar Pradesh where it got over two-thirds majority.
After winning states like Assam, Haryana and Maharashtra, Mr Shah had been meticulously strategising for his party to end its political "vanvaas" in UP, which sends the highest number of members to Parliament. From caste calculation to fine-tuning caste arithmetic, Mr Shah also made sure that neither factionalism nor dissension hurt party's poll prospects. It was one of the reasons that the BJP did not project a chief ministerial candidate in both UP and Uttarakhand.
Reaching out to non-Jatav Dalits and non-Yadav OBCs, Mr Shah's strategy also included tapping the youth and women voters. BJP workers and cadres were asked to visit regularly to each and every house, with the Modi government's achievements, its impact, and also to make sure that every legal voter comes out an vote. RSS leadership was also actively involved in this entire exercise.
Mr Shah, sources said, himself, held meetings with party rebels to pacify them and had asked state leadership to engage as many leaders in election related activities so that they do not feel left out. It was after Mr Shah took over the party's rein that the BJP managed to become the "largest political organisation" in the world when more than 10 crore members enrolled with it during its membership drive. "The only factor for the win is the performance of the Modi government. The outcome has shown the faith the poor have reposed in Modi...even his political rivals will have to admit that he has emerged as the tallest leader in the country since independence," Mr Shah said, after results showed party's gaining massively in UP, Uttarakhand and giving tough fight to opponents in Manipur and Goa. He expressed confidence that BJP will form government in Goa and Manipur, where no party has got a clear majority and described the victory in UP and Uttarakhand as the biggest since independence and claimed that it will herald the "politics of performance".
Mr Shah said despite defeat in Punjab, the SAD-BJP alliance got over 30 per cent votes and clarified that there would be "no rethink" on its alliance in Punjab. To a question whether BJP allies in UP would get ministerial posts, he said "absolutely." He also made light of BSP supremo Mayawati's allegations that EVMs were tampered with in UP, saying he can understand her state of mind.
When asked what would be BJP government's agenda in its first cabinet meeting would be, he said Mr Modi had promised loan waiver to small and medium farmers and said the BJP government will live "cent per cent" to the faith people have reposed in it and delivered on the promises it has made in its manifesto.
To a question on Ram mandir, Mr Shah said "You should refer to our 'sankalp patra' (manifesto)." The BJP has maintained that it wants a temple under the constitutional provisions with either a court verdict or dialogue. Asked whether the party will keep UP's complex caste equation in mind when it decides its chief ministerial candidate, he said merit will be the sole criteria.