Amit Shah re-elected as BJP chief
Amit Shah is set to begin his tenure as BJP President after being re-elected unopposed today. The election, which was termed a formality by party insiders, has put Shah on the threshold of his first full three year term as BJP chief; his previous term ended on January 23. BJP seniors LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were absent during Shah's re-election.
Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah was born into an affluent Gujarati family in Mumbai. Shah got involved with Rashtriya Syawamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the early age of 14. He formally became an RSS member during his college days in Ahmedabad. After joining, Amit Shah worked for the student's wing of the RSS, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad for over four years.
Amit Shah met Narendra Modi for the first time in 1982. During those years, Narendra Modi was an RSS Pracharak working as the in-charge of youth activities in Ahmedabad.
Amit Shah joined the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in 1986. A year later he became an activist with BJP's youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and gradually rose through the ranks of the party. Shah went on to hold many crucial posts in the Gujarat unit of BJP which included him becoming the State Secretary, Vice President and General Secretary, among others.
Amit Shah is credited with turning around the loss-making Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB). In 2000, he was appointed as its President and turned its fortunes within an year. It recorded profits of Rs.27 crore the next year.
Amit Shah, who registered a thumping victory in the 2002 Gujarat Legislative Assembly Elections became the Minister of State in Narendra Modi's government. During his tenure as minister, he held several portfolios including Home, Transport, Prohibition, Parliamentary Affairs, Law, Excise, etc,. Shah played a major role in getting the Gujarat Control of Organized Crime (GCOC) bill and Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, passed.
In 2010, Amit Shah was charged, arrested and jailed in the Sohrabuddin case. Shah was accused of orchestrating the killings of Sohrabuddin Sheikh, his wife Kauser Bi and his accomplice Tulsiram Prajapati. According to the CBI, Amit Shah was paid to eliminate Sohrabuddin by two marble traders, who Sohrabuddin harassed. Shah, along with DIG DG Vanzara and SP Rajkumar Pandian allegedly planned the murders.
Amit Shah accused Congress of remote-controlling the CBI to falsely implicate him in Sohrabuddin case. Shah was granted bail in October 2010 but was barred from entering Gujarat until 2012, when he was allowed to enter Gujarat by the SC.
Amit Shah was accused of tampering with evidence and influencing witnesses in 2002 Gujarat Riots. Shah was also accused of ordering illegal surveillance on a woman in connection with the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. However, in May 2014, the woman testified in the SC that the surveillance was based on personal request and requested the court to stop further investigations to maintain her privacy.
Amit Shah's entry into national politics happened when he was appointed as BJP General Secretary and put incharge of Uttar Pradesh for the 2014 general election . Shah's efforts paid off when the BJP and its allies won 73 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats. In July 2014, Amit Shah was unanimously appointed as BJP's National President, replacing veteran party leader Rajnath Singh.
Amit Shah will start his full term as BJP President on January 24 after completing the remnant of the three-year term of Rajnath Singh, who left the post to join the Union Cabinet. Reportedly, the RSS backed Shah's full term, after PM Modi put his weight behind his long-time loyalist. As per BJP's constitution, a person can be elected President for two terms.