New Delhi,July 10 (): BJP president Amit Shah has a tough mandate before him. Three states are going to polls and the situation is not the same as it was during the Lok Sabha polls.
Modi magic worked then but now the sheen is gone and in these three states there is no potential CM candidate to drive the party mechanism : Delhi where it lost by a whisker to AAP, Haryana where it has undependable ally and Maharashtra where it has to install a BJP CM and yet keep the Sena in the bandwagon. Amit Shah will have to build the popularity of the party so that in 2019 LS poll, it is able to get a two-thirds majority.
Amit Shah will have to replicate the UP model creating a OBC leadership committed to BJP – RSS to take on the caste oriented regional players. This strategy broke the back of the regional satraps in UP. He has to steer the party from not delving into Muslim bashing and implement his Modi saab slogan, ‘We are with everybody. Everybody’s development is our goal’.
In Maharashtra, Shah has to capitalize on the Congress appeasement of Muslims like he did in UP but Chavan who fixing a quota balanced it with a similar move for Marathas. After the death of Munde, BJP has nobody to take on Uddhav Thackeray.
The plus point is that Shah’s moves that clinched UP and thereby the Central government has won him support from even the RSS. Seen as a Modi bakht, BJP workers across the country breaking out in celebrations augurs well for him.
RSS was initially hesitant to back Shah as they did not want a president from Gujarat as it could put off other state heads. He way of ticket distribution in UP showed the firmness of keeping to the game plan of OBC consolidation and yet not stepping on the toes of the state leadership. The firmness is not without logic and yet does not move away from ideology is the hallmark of Shah.
Down South lies the challenge for Amit Shah. His predecessors had never really groomed up the Southern units and made leaders. It has been a party that was cut off from the North-based leadership. Modi during the elections did change that by his campaigns in the South pockets.
Karnataka, the first Southern State to have a BJP ministry is more of a Yeddyurappa‘s Lingayat pull and money-muscle power of Bellary brothers. When these groups left BJP, Congress came back and as Modi brought them back the trends were reversed.
Tamil Nadu has a sole BJP MP and his victory is credited to the vote bank of DMDK. In Kerala, the party’s infighting has not ended and it is caught between the Congress and CPM.
In Andhra Pradesh, it has to do a piggy ride on TDP and in Telangana it is on a weak wicket. Shah would have devised different strategies for different states.