Amit Shah and the march of BJP by Anirban Ganguly and Shiwanand Dwivedi: Review

Book Review
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This book in particular by Ganguly and Dwivedi takes a reader through various paths Shah embarked upon to see himself as well as the party to that pedestal where it rests today.
by Sumeet Naik

Book: Amit Shah and the march of BJP

Author: Anirban Ganguly and Shiwanand Dwivedi

Book: Amit Shah and the march of BJP

Author: Anirban Ganguly and Shiwanand Dwivedi

Experience is not a subject…One has to live it, one gains it by going from village to village, the way I am doing now,” the newly appointed Union Home Minister, Amit Shah had once remarked. Undoubtedly, from pasting party posters to emerging as the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Shah had seen it and done it all. This book in particular by Ganguly and Dwivedi takes a reader through various paths Shah embarked upon to see himself as well as the party to that pedestal where it rests today.

From L K Advani’s ‘Rath Yatra’ which was held with the sole aim of mobilising a wider national support in favour of the reconstruction of the Ram Temple to forty-seven days long Ekta Yatra’ launched by Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, it was Amit Shah who played a pivotal role in mobilising the support. As recent as August 2016, BJP now lead by Shah, organised a Tiranga Yatra, celebrating and commemorating the Quit India Movement and those forgotten heroes who had sacrificed themselves for India’s freedom. Link of these three Yatras, ideological shifts with new approaches and association of Shah in all these three events has been aptly heighted by the authors.

With every chapter, one gets a glimpse of Shah’s personality traits along with changing political dynamics within as well as outside the BJP. Just when the text seems to be getting too heavy on certain subjects, there comes a 16-page breather with colourful pictures of Amit Shah with several party functionaries over a period as well some candid moments clicked outside the gambit of politics.

Often referred as ‘Chanakya of BJP’ or ‘Modi’s Hanuman’, the man himself has proven more than once to have ability of turning crisis into opportunity for himself as well as for the party. One of the chapters in the book, which got my special attention, was ‘Shah’s Pravaas: Expanding the Footprints’. It has a mention of Shah’s outreach in terms of kilometers covered towards expanding party’s base all across the country. Authors mention that in his quest for expanding BJP’s footprints, Shah covered more than 7,90,000 kms between August 2014 and September 2018 undertaking major outreach programmes in this duration of forty-nine months. The average distance covered by him during this period was about 519 kilometers a day. Interestingly, a graph supports the data indicating the kilometers covered and the purpose.

However, one can call it the writers intuition of BJP getting absolute majority once again and Shah been rewarded handsomely or mere rushing to hit the stands, there has been several overlapping of the incidents in the book which could have been easily avoided.

All said and done, Shah’s present rests on his politically illustrious but publicly tarnished past. The biggest stain on his collar is of being accused of having orchestrated the extrajudicial killings of criminal Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and his partner in crime Tulsiram Prajapati. All this when Shah was the Home Minister in Narendra Modi led government in Gujarat.

Today, as the Union Home Minister, Shah has plenty of bigger challenges in front of him. But, one personally important among them is to clean-up the tarnished image of the past while handling the same portfolio at bigger stage. This book could be a drop in the bucket of water used for the Operation Clean-up’ in coming days.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 296; Price: Rs 399

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