Shah drives for Advani’s Gandhinagar

Former state home minister Amit Shah at a campaign rally in Gandhinagar on Saturday. (IE Photo:Javed raja) Former state home minister Amit Shah at a campaign rally in Gandhinagar on Saturday. (IE Photo: Javed raja)

Narendra Modi’s man in Uttar Pradesh, Amit Shah, was parachuted to Ahmedabad Saturday to boost the campaign of BJP patriarch and sitting MP L K Advani in Gandhinagar.

In his first public appearance in Gujarat after winning from Naranpura in the December 2012 Assembly elections, Shah travelled through the city in an open jeep with some other local leaders including former MP and ex-Ahmedabad mayor Bhavna Dave.

Shah, who was campaign manager for the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat in 2009, has been busy campaigning for Modi in Varanasi, the second seat from where the prime ministerial candidate is contesting.

State revenue and urban development Minister Anandi Patel is now incharge of Gandhinagar launched Advani’s campaign with a bike rally on Friday along with his daughter Pratibha. On Saturday, Patel who is MLA from Ghatlodia, accompanied Shah who also toured Naranpura. Both these Assembly constituencies fall under Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency and are BJP strongholdst.

Known for his mobilising skills, which former Advani is likely to miss this time, Shah told mediapersons, “I have come here to campaign for Advaniji. And I am confident that Narendra Modi will form the next government’’. Advani is likely to start campaigning on April 5, when he will also file his nominations from Gandhinagar.

Accompanied by bike riders, Shah simply waved the victory sign and did not address the public gathered on both sides of the road.

BJP leaders maintained that Shah, who has strong roots in co-operative and banking sector, was no match when it comes to mobilising cadre and and raising funds. “We would like him to stay back in the constituency for some time and prepare the base, before he can go back to UP,’’ said a BJP leader from Naranpura.

A resident of Sanjyanagar in Naranpura, Ghanshyam Patel, said, “Neither Amit Shah nor Advani means much to us. The man important for us is Modi, who can become PM,’’

Another resident, Dhirubhai Patel, added, “Development is what the youth and nation needs. But at the same time Hindutva also matters. And, for the same reason, Modi becomes the choice of many’’.