Amit Shah – Will Narendra Modi’s Man Friday turn to be his nemesis?

BJP`s poll panel chief`s man to go to is Amit Shah, someone Narendra Modi trusts immensely.

Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh

New Delhi: Everyone has their trusted lieutenants, be it politicians or businessmen and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is no exception. As is well known, the BJP`s poll panel chief`s man to go to is Amit Shah, someone Modi trusts immensely.

To have someone by your side, who is with you through thick and thin can be a great asset, whether in personal or professional life. However, when the same person starts coming in the way of your goal, then questions starts being bandied about whether the man in question has become a liability.

This is what is happening with Modi and his man friday, Amit Shah, the BJP general secretary. Suspended Gujarat IPS officer DG Vanzara`s so called `letter bomb` has blamed Modi and Shah from failing to protect state policemen accused in fake encounters.

In his 10-page letter addressed to Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Vanzara has said that the accused officers "simply implemented the conscious policy" of the state government and hit out at the state government, particularly, Amit Shah, saying that the former minister of state for home betrayed him and 32 other officers, in jail in encounter killing cases, which is being probed by the CBI. He also blamed Shah, for shifting Sorabuddin Sheikh encounter killing case transferred outside Gujarat.

"The crux of the whole matter is that it was just to facilitate his trivial personal interest of fighting Gujarat Assembly Elections of 2012 that Amit Shah got the trial (Soharabuddin encounter case) transferred and betrayed our trust reposed in him whereby he forced us to suffer more and more..." Vanzara said, adding that Modi like God could not rise to the occasion under the "evil" influence of Shah. Vanzara is currently lodged in Sabarmati Central Jail in connection with a string of alleged fake encounter cases.

Shah is a co-accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati encounter cases. To be noted is the fact that he is in-charge of the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh for 2014 General Elections, the results of which can make all the difference to BJP coming back to power.

In a scenario like this, the question being raised by certain quarters is whether Shah is increasingly becoming a liability for Modi and will the perception about him affect the BJP adversely in General Elections 2014. Even as Modi has maintained a stoic silence as far as Vanzara letter is concerned, questions are also being raised as to why Modi made Shah the general secretary in-charge of UP? And why has Modi consistently supported Shah, notwithstanding his political and strategic skills?

Many feel that at a time when Modi has been taking on the UPA-led Congress government for scams, corruption and non-governance, he cannot be seen to be siding with someone who is said to have taken law in his own hands. Because the dangers are that it will be claimed that Shah had Modi`s sanction in whatever he did.

Already the Congress has been baying for Shah and Modi`s blood, asking the Gujarat CM to step down after Vanzara`s letter become public. Though it`s another matter is that the suspended cop`s letter has yet to be authenticated and cannot be taken at the face value. However, it also cannot be denied that it has the potential to delay Modi being named as BJP`s PM candidate for 2014, the clamour for which is growing in the rank and file of the party.

In the major fake encounter cases related to Gujarat - Tulsiram Prajapati, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Ishrat Jahan – the needle of suspicion points towards Amit Shah. He was the home minister of the state then and the police officers in jail with regard to encounter cases were reporting directly to Shah. Thus, even though the BJP has been crying hoarse and saying that the Congress is conspiring to malign Modi, the fact is that there must be unease within the party as far as the Vanzara episode is concerned.