By Bhavya Kumar:â€¨
Someone into Indian politics will most probably click on this article, their anticipations varying according to their own political inclinations. Amit Shah, the very name, might draw a range of reactions that can actually be presented on a spectrum. It’s very hard to write something on a person at the centre of many controversies and still surrounded by a thick overgrowth of debates and speculations and other much-extended diversions that an engaged human mind allows itself at a time. At the same time, my aim is not to trivialize the significance of these debates, discussions, controversies and speculations that are related to this particular person. It’s just hard to dig into the layers and layers of opinions and interpretation.
Mr. Shah’s career has been full of active pursuits of political ambitions and interests and have a clear orientation, a particular color to them, and it appears to be saffron. He joined the Rashtriya Syawamsevak Sangh at a young age, and has been an political practitioner ever since. Throughout his youth, he has been in the service of right-wing parties, and has risen through the ranks of Bhartiya Janata Party in his later years as he moved to BJP from ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) and BJYM (Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha) as his previous affiliations. His rise is due to his effectiveness as a political strategist, as many have described him. He has definitely come a long way, and his career is adorned with the fruits of his contribution as a dedicated worker for the party, and many alliances that were quite beneficial to him, and we can see that now that BJP is in power for this term.
He is, according to the observation of routine political commentators, the “right hand” of the Prime Minister, and the combination has been rather deadly for their opponents within the party. Under the tenure of Narendra Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat, Mr. Shah managed to take lead of multiple portfolios and emerged as a prominent leader, rendering him with a good political strength and the priceless experience. His profile at the BJP’s official website has a lot to say about his many achievements within Gujarat, in the areas of state administration and co-operatives and so on, and the list of his achievement is long.
“That was the year when the Bank had registered a loss of Rs 20.28 crore. Only a year after he [Amit Shah] took over, the Bank cleared its debts and fell in line of other profit-making banks, with declaration of 10% dividend. Today, Ahmedabad District Co-Operative Bank Limited is a leading bank among the 367 co-operative banks in the country”, so is mentioned in this profile drawn up by the party on their website.
A brilliant political career doesn’t come without any costs. It has been alleged that he was engaged in divisive politics and has been practising what can be called discrimination founded in his ideological inclination – Hindutva. While the list of controversies is fairly long, I would like to mention only a couple of them here. He has been one of the many names attached to two fake encounters, and has been in fixes concerning his opinions threatening our secular ideals and the ornaments that our constitutions boasts of, but secularism as a functioning ideal in our society is still not an all-pervasive reality. The need to avenge for what happened in Muzaffarnagar and the subjects of this vengeance definitely caused certain tensions. Mr. Shah happened to spend some time in jail after being found guilty in the murder of a small-time gangster, Sohrabuddin Sheikh, in a staged encounter. The much-sensationalized Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case too dragged him in, and it had a lot to do with the suspicion that those murdered were terrorists and Ishrat Jahan herself was hosting them. He, along with other politicians of his kind, aren’t often subjects of criticism for behaving in a way which discourages the minorities in terms of political activities, liberties and representation.
Mr. Shah has had a brilliant performance in electoral politics, and it cannot be denied that he still has a lot of support. He has been trying to resurrect his political career after his term in jail and now is the president of the BJP. Despite the stains that now firmly hold on to the fabric of his career, he still is a close aide to the Prime Minister, and one cannot help but wonder or speculate if they will, or will not substantiate the fear that many of us have, right from the issue of minorities, to the aggressive application of Hindutva agenda. Despite his many contributions to the state he had been serving, he still manages to pass a remark that has upset a lot many.
It is a little bitter to take in the fact that there are politicians who are as promising as they could be, but are driven by motivations that do not exactly seem appropriate. Aggression and intolerance practised on behalf of a person from a certain ideology, and his acts being in accordance with these ideologies, is something that our country has been suffering from for quite some time, and if you manage to look beyond this one layer, you will realize that ideology is just a mask to cover the solid composition which actually manipulate the power play. In that view, if, after all, what is sought is not ideological victory, but only an assortment of convenient compromises, then, political strategists from any party should be careful enough to realize that states are not like the country itself and many, many compromises have to be made if ambitions have to be achieved. In that view, respecting Mr Shah’s capabilities, we should look forward to not only brokered peace but rigorous struggles to keep this peace intact; struggles with, along, and against many who strongly oppose the party itself and whatever it stands for.
However, it is advisable for a political strategist, looked upon as a master-planner/organizer, which he absolutely is, to be extremely cautious with the ground he is and shall be treading upon, not to mention the fragility of this very ground that has been renderedÂ so by nothing other than his own past.