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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Kailash Vijayvargiya: Amit Shah’s go-to man

A shrewd political leader who can be disarming with rivals, Vijayvargiya has been assiduously building up the party in West Bengal.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
March 9, 2021 10:36:36 am
Kailash Vijayvargiya Amit Shah's go-to manKailash Vijayvargiya

Former Madhya Pradesh minister, six-time MLA and ex-mayor of Indore, Kailash Vijayargiya has been handpicked by Union Home Minister and former BJP chief Amit Shah to supervise his most ambitious political plans.

Vijayvargiya, who held several portfolios as minister in Madhya Pradesh, one of the BJP’s strong bastions, was brought to national politics in 2014 shortly after Shah took over complete charge of his party’s election machinery.

The 64-year-old was sent to West Bengal in 2015 after he delivered victory in the BJP for Haryana, then considered to be a Congress stronghold. The choice was significant given how the BJP held eastern India, especially West Bengal, at the top of its priority list.

The BJP’s faith in Vijayvargiya paid off when the party won 18 of 42 seats in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and got more than 40% of the vote share, up from 10% in the 2016 Assembly polls.

Later, Vijayvargiya was one of the few leaders allowed to retain the same state when new BJP president J P Nadda reshuffled the organisational team last year. This surprised many as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, at a parliamentary party meeting, criticised his MLA son, who had been seen in a video beating up a civic official with a cricket bat during a demolition drive in Indore. Later though, Modi himself asked the Home Ministry to provide Vijayvargiya adequate security for campaigning in poll violence-hit West Bengal.

A shrewd political leader who can be disarming with rivals, Vijayvargiya has been assiduously building up the party in West Bengal. The BJP national general secretary’s partnership with former Trinamool Congress No. 2 Mukul Roy — whom Vijavargiya proudly claims as his recruit in the BJP — has been fruitful so far, especially in weaning away top leaders of the state ruling party, including a few ministers close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

A keen music lover, who often showcases his talent among close friends, he has recently been urged by the top leadership to sing in Bangla to woo voters.

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