Under Amit Shah, Home Ministry Takes Centrestage In PM Modi's Government

Since Amit Shah took charge of the ministry last week, governors, chief ministers and cabinet ministers have been making a beeline for his office, making it the "new corridor of power".

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On Tuesday, Amit Shah held a series of meetings with many Union ministers. (File Photo)


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. On Tuesday, Amit Shah held a series of meetings
  2. He has been a close confidant of PM Modi
  3. He crafted two national elections around the PM

Political activity in the North Block in Delhi, the seat of the government, signals a new phase at the Centre -- one in which the home ministry has emerged as the hub of activity. Since Amit Shah took charge of the ministry last week, governors, chief ministers and cabinet ministers have been making a beeline for his office, making it the "new corridor of power", according to bureaucrats.

In Prime Minister Narendra Modi's previous stint, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was a key power centre.

On Tuesday, Mr Shah held a series of meetings - the list includes Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Railway minister Piyush Goyal and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

All of them downplayed the agenda of the meeting.

"I was here to have coffee with the minister," said Piyush Goyal. "I came for tea and biscuits," Dharamendra Pradhan joked. In a serious vein, he added that Amit Shah being the party chief, ministers and leaders dropping in to meet him was natural.

Sources later said the meeting, which was also attended by the officials of the Niti Aayog, was on the technical aspects of petroleum.

"This is the first time such an inter-ministerial meeting was held under the second Modi government. Under the last home minister, apart from home related inter-ministerial meetings, such gatherings barely took place," recalled a bureaucrat who served under Rajnath Singh.

Rajnath Singh is now the defence minister, taking over from Nirmala Sitharaman, who has become the country's first full-time woman finance minister.

Party insiders said Mr Shah holding the meetings indicates his primacy after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"In the last two years, decision-making had become somewhat slow, but now there is a new kind of energy," said one of the bureaucrats in the ministry on condition of anonymity.

Mr Shah, a close confidant of PM Modi for a couple of decades, had crafted two national elections around the PM - a formula that proved hugely successful for the BJP.

But though the question of his joining the ministry came up in 2014, the ace politician had made it clear that he was not ready to take a hand in statecraft at the national level yet. Asked the same question when he entered the Rajya Sabha, he had laughed it off, saying, "Don't push me".

This time, after days of speculation, he was named the country's new home minister.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was considered one of the most decisive home ministers of the country. Years later, LK Advani tried to emulate his example.



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