He is 50 years old and is known as Narendra Modi’s Man Friday. He was sent to reorganize a bruised BJP in Uttar Pradesh during the recent general elections and came out in flying colours. Many say his de facto power will be second only to that of the PM.
Shah is a frugal man. For the past many years he has bathed only with warm water and no soap. He reportedly coped easily with Sabarmati jail, where he spent three months for his alleged role in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh and Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter cases. Shah was arrested on July 25, 2010, and granted bail on October 29. But, it was only after a prolonged legal battle in the Supreme Court that he was allowed to return to Gujarat, reports the Times of India.
The arrest had put a question mark on his political career, but as advised he took the opportunity to lie back and when the opportunity came to set the UP house on order, he could hit the ground running.
Insiders say Modi listens to Shah and through the years became his most trusted adviser.
Their friendship goes back to antiquity. Twenty five years ago, when Modi joined the BJP in 1986 he took a young Shah under his wings. While others such as Haren Pandya and Sanjay Joshi were to ‘betray’ Modi later, Shah was loyal.
Shah made his electoral debut in 1997, when he was given a ticket for, and won, the Sarkhej by-election. He has won the seat four times since. After dislodging Congress in cooperatives, he was set to capture another Congress bastion, the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA), when Modi told him to step aside for him. Like a good team player, he willingly sacrificed his wicket for his captain, according to reports. (TIW)