Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
File photo of BJP President Amit Shah

Uttar Pradesh: Amit Shah Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai?

Western UP does not only have Jats, exclaimed the BJP national president at a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday, indicating that barring Jats others cast their votes in favour of BJP on Saturday

"Are you a Congress agent," screamed BJP national president Amit Shah at a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday. His cheeks turning red in fury, eyes blazing, Shah adjusted his golden-rimmed glasses with his right hand and hissed, "Go to the ground and see for yourself. BJP is sweeping West Uttar Pradesh."


The immediate provocation was a question this reporter asked about his claim that BJP would be winning more than 50 seats in the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh which had got over on Saturday.


As party president Shah was doing what he had to, namely boosting the morale of his party workers. With the second phase of polling due on Wednesday, his desperation was evident as he declared, “In the first phase of election BJP will win 50 out of 73 seats that went to polls on February 11; and in the first two phases the party will win 90 out of 140 seats—that's for sure."

The question this reporter asked was “You have claimed that BJP will win 50 out of 73 seats in the first phase. But ground reports suggest that Jats have deserted BJP. Three days back you had a late-night meeting with Jat leaders in an effort to placate them. Under these circumstances, how can you be so sure that BJP will win 50 seats in the first phase?”

After a few warm-up questions, this reporter wanted to know the basis of his conviction.


The question this reporter asked was "You have claimed that BJP will win 50 out of 73 seats in the first phase. But ground reports suggest that Jats have deserted BJP. Three days back you had a late-night meeting with Jat leaders in an effort to placate them. Under these circumstances, how can you be so sure that BJP will win 50 seats in the first phase?"


The question seemed to have blown his fuse. He lost his cool and screamed, "What kind of question is this? Are all voters Jat? There are people from other castes too. There are Thakurs. There are Backwards. Have you gone to West UP?"


Then came the worst.


"Are you a Congress agent," Shah screamed. It was evidently fine to be a BJP agent at the press conference. The BJP President is clearly not used to being questioned by the media. And it was no surprise that his statement was accepted without a murmur by large sections of the media which unquestioningly reported his claim.

DAMAGE CONTROL AND CHOICEST ABUSES

But while Shah has been busy at damage control, his party workers have been unwittingly giving the reality away. Some of them in Lucknow could be heard showering the Jats with choicest abuses, accusing them of sitting on the lap of Jat leader Ajit Singh and for deserting the BJP.


The frustration of Amit Shah is palpable. BJP had high hopes from Jats of West Uttar Pradesh. They had supported BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha election, reducing the Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lol Dal to a non-entity. At the late night meeting with Jat leaders, Shah pleaded that both the party and the Jats would be the losers if Jats deserted the BJP. In a leaked audio tape of the meeting circulating in the state, Shah can be clearly heard admitting, “Nuksan ho jayega…bahut nuksan ho jayega” (There will be irreparable damage done).

“Are you a Congress agent,” screamed BJP national president Amit Shah at a press conference in Lucknow on Sunday. His cheeks turning red in fury, eyes blazing, Shah adjusted his golden-rimmed glasses with his right hand and hissed, “Go to the ground and see for yourself. BJP is sweeping West Uttar Pradesh.”

Shah’s press conference was arranged in a hurry and after it got over, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav went around asking reporters to highlight Shah’s statement that BJP would bag 90 seats in the first two phases.


The fact that BJP is no longer confident of its 3,000 WhatsApp groups in the state relaying the message is another indication of its dilemma.