By Ashima Makhija
On July 21, 2017, Amit Shah, President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), began his landmark nationwide tour with his three-day Rajasthan tour. The all-India tour is designed to strengthen the party at the grass root levels. It aims to consolidate a majority in the upcoming state elections and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. To promote this, Shah will be meeting the prominent political faces, MPs, MLAs, district presidents and office-bearers of various cells.
The chief electoral strategist of the BJP, who has once again lifted his saffron paintbrush to colour the geopolitics of India, is set to garner widespread support for the BJP camp and build an “invincible” party.
Day 1: Glorified speech
The National-Party-President was given a grand welcome as he arrived at Jaipur on Friday. Several dignitaries, including Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and state party chief Ashok Parnami – showed up to receive him. A jubilant and star-struck crowd flowered petals, presented mementoes and led a magnificent procession. Following that, Shah inaugurated an e-library at the state BJP office and chaired a meeting of the party’s core committee.
Addressing a meeting with the intelligentsia of Jaipur, Shah attributed India’s phenomenal economic rise to the Modi government. “The BJP government doesn’t take decisions that feel good to people, but those which are good for the people,” Shah said. He also said that the Union government introduced 106 new schemes and programmes in its three years for public welfare.
Praising the BJP, Shah asked the people to compare for themselves the workings of various political parties on three factors: internal democracy, principles and running governments. “We have thrown out nepotism, casteism and appeasement, and Uttar Pradesh elections are a testimony to that,” he contended.
Day 2: Blending faith and politics
Saturday began with admiration for CM Vasundhara Raje’s illustrious work. In a press conference at the BJP office in the Pink city, Shah appreciated the state’s flagship schemes, such as Bhamashah (direct benefit transfer scheme, aimed at women empowerment), Jal Swalambhan Yojna (water harvesting and conservation) and Nyay Aapke Dwar (doorstep legal justice). He said, “Narendra Modi government at the Centre and Raje’s in Rajasthan together are working as growth engines for the country.”
Moreover, Amit Shah touched upon various controversial but weighty themes. Affirming BJP’s stand on Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, he said the temple should be legally constructed after dialogue. In an all-party meeting, Shah discussed the issue of “creamy layer” in reservations for Scheduled Castes/Tribes and Other Backward Classes in education and government jobs. Further, he termed demonetisation as “a courageous and historical decision” and called its results “very encouraging”. On the GST, he said it was a “historical step” which will help boost the economy, and noted that it was implemented with the consensus of all the state governments.
But politics, if served without drama and dogma, tastes rather bland. On the second day of his three-day Rajasthan tour, BJP president Amit Shah was greeted by seers, who came to visit him from all over the state. He met the seers and sought their blessings, post which, a closed-door meeting took place between them.
Day 3: On Casteism, Dalits, and Inclusion
On the last day of his visit to Rajasthan, he held a meeting with party leaders, including Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, MPs and MLAs.
After rounds of meeting in the party office, Shah left for Sushilpura where he dined with a Dalit family. Shah, accompanied by Raje, Ashok Parnami, MP Bhupendra Yadav and others, was given a warm welcome in a traditional Rajasthani manner at the house of BJP Yuva Morcha member Ramesh Pacharia amid tight security arrangements. They were served food by Pacharia’s family and had lunch sitting on the ground. This is a great symbolic leap for the saffron party. The emblematic gesture of the BJP National Party President visiting the humble abode of a Dalit will aid it in its projection as an inclusive party.
A lot is at stake for the BJP in the upcoming state elections. The results of these elections will reflect not only the residual strength of the saffron wave but will also provide a glimpse of the results in 2019. Amit Shah’s nationwide tour will embody the national interest in state affairs and will consolidate support in the tiny cells of the gigantic country.
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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