MUMBAI: Amit Shah is the man of the moment in the BJP and his approbation is the first step to win the good graces of Narendra Modi. So, with the boss in town to test the rigging of the party in Maharashtra, there were eager presentations by several government functionaries for the benefit of the eyes and ears of the PM.
Among the presentations made on Friday was one by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis himself. It was a presentation meant to convey the signal that the recent farmers’ agitation was dealt with skillfully and the main concerns addressed with alacrity.Fadnavis laid out the decisions taken by his government, especially the flagship programme Jal Yukta Shivar Abhiyan (JSA), for the welfare of farmers.
But insiders said the hard man from on high was distinctly unimpressed and said as much at a meeting with cabinet ministers. Amit Shah is learnt to have expressed disappointment not just with the performance of the Maharashtra government but of the party itself in tackling the farmers’ strike.
On the first day of a busy three-day visit, Amit Sha kept a hectic schedule, interacting with 1300 party functionaries including all district party presidents at the Garware club house in Wankhede stedium. He also took review with cabinet ministers and later met party legislators and MPs at the Sahyadri guest house.
According to one party insider, the meeting with the cabinet ministers did not go well for Devendra Fadnavis. Shah listened carefully to the presentation and at the end of it declared his disappointed with the government, the source said.
Shah stumped the ministers with a counter-factual question: if the state was doing well, why were the farmers agitating in the first place?
The other bee in the BJP’s bonnet at the moment is expansion down to the grassroots.
Here too the party came up short of Amit Shah’s expectations: the party’s visibility at the booth level in rural Maharashtra needed to be improved and it was the duty of the bosses to ensure that.