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 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 PM candidate is contesting. State revenue and urban development Minister Anandi Patel, who is now in charge of Gandhinagar, launched Advani’s campaign with a bike rally on Friday. On Saturday, Patel, who is MLA from Ghatlodia, accompanied Shah who also toured Naranpura. Both these Assembly constituencies fall under Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituencies and are BJP strongholds.
Known for his mobilising skills, which former Advani is likely to miss this time, Shah said, “I have come here to campaign for Advaniji. And I am confident that Modi will form the next government’’. Advani is likely to start campaigning from 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, has no match when it comes to mobilising cadre 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.” Another resident, Dhirubhai Patel, said, “Development is what the youth and nation needs. But Hindutva also matters. That’s why Modi is the choice of many.”