- Amit Shah is known for his ability to take tough decisions
- He will play key role in defining centre's relationship with states
- The spotlight is also going to linger on illegal immigration
With BJP chief Amit Shah being appointed as the Union Home Minister, a lot is expected to change as far as matters concerning internal security and centre-state relations are concerned. Officials in the ministry say he may also dedicate much of his attention to tackling illegal immigration and addressing issues concerning Jammu and Kashmir.
Through Friday, officials in his ministry were busy preparing presentations for the new minister. "Unlike his predecessor Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah will be a very hands-on boss," a senior bureaucrat said.
Known for his ability to take tough decisions, Amit Shah is expected to give new shape not only to many aspects of internal security but also dynamics as far as relations with neighbouring countries - especially Pakistan - are concerned. As the Home Minister, he will also play a crucial role in defining the centre's relationship with states.
Officials also expect to see a shift in National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's role with 54-year-old Amit Shah's induction. "Rajnath Singh used to ratify all the decisions taken by the NSA, but things may change now because Amit Shah himself has a strong personality," one of them said.
As per the present arrangement, Ajit Doval was considered as the eyes and ears of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But that could change now, given that Amit Shah is considered PM Modi's closest confidant.
However, Jammu and Kashmir could still be the biggest challenge before the new Union Home Minister. During election season, Amit Shah had promised voters that the PM Modi-led BJP would annul Article 35A of the Constitution because it discriminates against "non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir". He also called for the abolition of Article 370, which allows the state a separate flag and constitution.
The BJP has won three of six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the last state elections, it captured 25 assembly seats. The next assembly elections may be held in November, and with the BJP wanting to increase its vote share there, political observers are curious to know what stand it would take on these crucial issues.
The spotlight is also going to linger on illegal immigration under the new Home Minister. "Illegal immigrants are like termites. They are eating the grain that should go to the poor, they are taking our jobs," he had said at a rally in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
"Amit Shah is known for his organisational skills and ideology. It would be interesting to see how he uses both these strengths to enhance the ministry's functioning," a senior official in the ministry said.
Amit Shah, who has been PM Modi's Home Minister during his tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister in the past, was the most notable inclusion in the government among 57 new and old ministers who were sworn in at a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday. Over the last six weeks, he had helped run a hugely successful campaign to raise the BJP's tally to 303 out of 545 seats in the Lok Sabha, up from 282 in 2014, despite losses in key state elections in December.
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