Our Take

Shah’s Mission Maitri

Shah’s Mission Maitri
With the BJP’s organisational fabric taking a couple of blows at the hustings, its president Amit Shah is not only herding the flock but is on a double-knitting spree of alliances, old and new. His charm offensive now includes involving prominent citizens and achievers, who can push forward the big vision of India by virtue of their popular appeal. This also means that the BJP is willing to share its monolithic glory and strengthen its acceptability with non-partisan emissaries. So the BJP president is meeting icons like Lata Mangeshkar, Kapil Dev and Madhuri Dixit alongside his meetings with troubled allies like Shiv Sena, which is muscle-flexing and threatening to go it alone for 2019. What this move does is also help the BJP push the plank of development as a believable slogan rather than a cover for core Hindutva, which, thanks to the fringe and motormouths, has been subverted badly. Already the Modi government has effectively used Bollywood biggies, from Amitabh Bachchan to Akshay Kumar, to push  transformative campaigns like Swachh Bharat, girl child rights and menstrual health for women. And the BJP owes a lot to Baba Ramdev for tapping into newer voter profiles through his organisational network. Which is why the party saved itself from embarrassment by a whisker with top leaders intervening and preventing Ramdev’s Patanjali from exiting Greater Noida in UP. Ostensibly, the baba was hurt by the Yogi government’s procrastination on clearances. Knowing that they cannot risk further discontent among known supporters and believers and that their own voices are sounding more vain than sincere, BJP top guns are leaving no stone unturned to cultivate a new breed of apolitical ambassadors. Yes the party is mending relationships with political allies but is also building a buffer relationship with new constituencies through the existing support base of thought leaders and notables.


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