International desk – Chief of Bharatiya Janata Party Amit Shah has been inducted as a minister into the new Indian cabinet led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a thumping election victory.
The swearing in ceremony was held at the Indian Presidential Palace on Thursday, a week after the result of the seven-phase staggered election was conducted across India.
Shah is considered the architect of the party’s stupendous victory that enabled it to come to power at the Centre for a second term.
He has become the most prominent newcomer in the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in its second stint, according to the Indian broadcaster NDTV.
PM Modi and his council of ministers took oath at Rashtrapati Bhavan (the Mughal era presidential palace) was attended by world leaders, celebrities and political leaders.
Shah, 54, took oath Thursday after days of speculation whether he would become part of the government. A section in the BJP wanted him to stay on as the party chief as assembly polls in a string of states come up later this year, and elections in Delhi and Bihar the next.
The question came up after the ace-politician catapulted the BJP to power nationally in the 2014 general elections, but Shah had made it clear that he was not ready to take a hand in statecraft yet.
Asked the same question when he entered the Rajya Sabha, he had laughed it off, saying, “Don’t push me”, the broadcaster put on its website.
Shah got his break in the party first time in 1991 managing the campaign for of BJP patriarch LK Advani from Gandhinagar during the Lok Sabha elections. But his political acumen came into full play as he became a close aide of Narendra Modi. He was even considered a possibility for the top post in Gujarat when Narendra Modi moved to national politics.
Shah, however, moved to Delhi along with PM Modi, with a vision to make Congress-Mukt Bharat (Congress-free India). Shah has almost been succided with his mission.
The BJP now controls most of the north and west and whole of the northeast. In the east, it controls Bihar and made huge inroads into Mamata Banerjee-ruled Bengal and posted significant gains in Naveen Patnaik’s Odisha.
The BJP under Shah’s leadership haul more than 300 seats in parliament way above its 2014 tally of 282 seats. It managed another crushing defeat to the Congress party, which led Indian freedom and ruled it for a long time.