Since he anointed Vijay Rupani as chief minister of Gujarat, BJP president Amit Shah is frequently visiting the state. In August, Shah has already visited Gujarat thrice and he is scheduled to visit the state again on Friday. With Assembly elections due next year, the party brass appears to be focusing on the state, sources said.
On Friday, Shah will attend a tree-plantation programme, organised by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, in his Assembly constituency Naranpura. He will then felicitate newly-appointed Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani at Shree Kamalam in Gandhinagar, before attending the ground-breaking ceremony for an MSME development institution at Thaltej in the evening.
Earlier this month, Shah, following Anandiben Patel’s resignation on August 1, had camped in Ahmedabad for three days and held closed-door meetings at his residence to eventually anoint loyalist Rupani as the new chief minister. He then came to Gandhinagar on August 7 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Rupani and his council of ministers. On August 17, he again visited the state to attend the last rites of Pramukh Swami at Sarangpur.
Shah, an MLA from Naranpura, has a near negligible presence in the Assembly sessions in Gujarat after BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre, and Anandiben took charge as chief minister.
Shah’s footprint began to get larger in Gujarat politics since February when Rupani was appointed state BJP president even as he continued to hold the cabinet minister’s post in the Anandiben government.
A senior party worker holding a key post in Gandhinagar conceded that Shah has been frequenting Gujarat after appointment of Rupani as state BJP president. “But there is nothing unusual in these visits. Rajnath Singh, during his tenure as national BJP president, often used to camp in UP. Shah’s visits are much less frequent than that,” he said. “He must be coming to decide certain appointments like chairmen of boards and corporations,” said another party functionary.
Another BJP worker said there is nothing much to read into the frequent visits by Shah. “After all, it is his home state and his home is still here,” he said.