Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The man whom Modi misses the most


With Amit Shah Not Around And Polls Nearing, CM Cornered

Ajay Umat | TNN

Ahmedabad: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi may not have betrayed his emotions after the Naroda Patia verdict, where former minister Maya Kodnani was sentenced to life imprisonment. But, Modi is anxiously following the happenings in Supreme Court as well as CBI headquarters, which is likely to decide on another ex-minister’s fate.
    Over the next few days, the SC will decide on Amit Shah’s return to Gujarat — he is out on bail in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case but barred from entering the state by the apex court. Simultaneously, the CBI is likely to file a chargesheet in a related case, the Tulsiram Prajapati encounter case, where Shah could face arrest.
    Cornered from all quarters, Modi is missing Shah, who has been his Man Friday. A good investor in stock markets, Shah’s best investment turned out to be his relationship with Modi. Even when Modi was banished from Gujarat in mid-1990s at the behest of then CM Keshubhai Patel, Shah had never hidden his closeness to Modi and chose to remain sidelined as long as Keshubhai ruled.
    His stars changed after Modi took over in October 2001. Modi’s most trusted lieutenant, Shah used to handle legal affairs related to post-Godhra riots.
    As home minister, Shah’s control over the police machinery worked to Modi’s advantage. BJP leaders say Shah is a master political strategist. “His track record shows it. From cricket to cooperatives, he won everything for Modi. Shah strategised to defeat stalwarts like ex-Union ministers Shankersinh Vaghela and Naran Rathwa in 2009. With Shah out of scene, Modi is struggling to retain even cricket bodies,” says a BJP leader.
    Insiders say Modi badly needs him in this hour of crisis — Keshubhai continues to draw good crowds and the Congress is at its aggressive best. “Nobody understands the new constituencies postdelimitation and understood ground realities like Shah... He was a master negotiator.”