NEW DELHI: Before taking over as Home Minister on June 1, Amit Shah had briefly stopped to take a look at the portrait of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. In a little over two months, he delivered the message loud and clear that he means business, presiding over historic moves to ‘mainstream’ J&K positioning himself as the ‘iron man’ in the Narendra Modi dispensation.
Shah was strict right from Day 1. Nobody could abstain from his meetings, not even National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. With a clear brief from the PM, Shah slipped into the job of minute detailing before going for the kill on Monday.
That he would adopt a radically different approach on J&K was revealed to a few journalists who met him last month. “Do you expect me to follow a policy that has not yielded any results for the past 70 years?” he had said during the interaction.
Of all state governors, Shah chose to meet J&K’s Satya Pal Malik first. Sources said Malik came out “mighty pleased” with instructions apparently given to him to “talk loud to divert attention”.
Sources said Shah remained focused on the Kashmir agenda mobilising numbers in the Rajya Sabha by ensnaring MPs from vulnerable outfits. Passage of the triple talaq Bill gave the confidence to Shah that time has come to go big on J&K.
“Shah sized up the security apparatus in the Valley during his maiden visit. With details of the J&K Bank scam available at his disposal, he knew the vulnerability of the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party leadership. His assessment of Panchayat elections and leaders made him believe the current political leadership of J&K is left with little popular endorsement and that the time to give effect to a larger plan had arrived,” said a senior BJP functionary.
“Watch out for the next six months. He (Shah) will solve the Kashmir problem entirely,” said a close aide of Shah.