Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah, the former President of the Bharatiya Janata Party and India’s Home Minister, was born on 22 October 1964 to a Gujarati couple Mrs. Kusum Ben and Mr. Anilchandra Shah living in Mumbai. Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah's grandfather was a wealthy merchant (Nagar Seth) in Mansa, a small princely state of Baroda State of Gaikwad. Till the age of 16, Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah lived in his native village Mansa in Gujarat. It is there where he received his primary education. The young Shah’s early education took place according to the 'Indian Value Tradition' under the supervision of prominent scholars of the Gaikwad State. He was taught Indian scriptures, historical texts, grammar and epics in his childhood. He continued to study Indian philosophy and texts even in the later years.
Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah's family moved to Ahmedabad after the completion of his primary education. His mother had a deep influence in his life. She was an avid Gandhian and she inspired him to wear Khadi. In his youth, while during education, he read biographies of many patriots and was deeply influenced by their passion for the motherland. He has been greatly influenced by the writings of K.M. Munshi.
Amit Shah was born to Gujarati parents Mrs. Kusumben and Mr. Anilchandra Shah on October 22, 1964 in Mumbai. He completed 16 years of his schooling in his ancestral village of Mansa, Gujarat and moved to Ahmedabad with his family, thereafter. A patriot and an avid reader since childhood, Shah was inspired by the biographies of the great nationalists and aspired to serving his Motherland and contributing to the country’s progress.
Inspired by its ideology Shah joined Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) as a Swayamsevak (volunteer) at the age of 16 years in 1980. Shah also started participating in organizational activities of Sangh’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Because of his commitment to ideology, organizational ability and oratory skills, Shah was elevated to the post of the Joint Secretary of the Gujarat unit of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) within two years of joining the organization.
Amit Shah started his politics journey in 1987 when he joined BJP’s youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM). He started playing an active role in various organizational programs of BJYM.
Shah was given first organizational assignment when he was made the secretary of the BJP Ahmedabad city in 1989. This marked significant milestones in his political journey.
In 1995, Shah was appointed as the Chairman of Gujarat State Finance Corporation (GSFC). His achievements included:
Amit Shah was appointment National Treasurer of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in 1997.
Amit Shah contested assembly election from Gujrat’s Sarkhej legislative assembly constituency in 1997 and won by a huge margin, a trend which manifested in each electoral win with an increasing margin. He continued to win this seat for four consecutive terms every time with a higher margin. He won the first election by a margin of 24,689 votes that rose more than 5 times to 132,477 votes in the next election. He won his third and fourth term with record margins 288,327(approx. 12 times) and 232,823 votes respectively.
After delimitation, Shah’s new assembly seat was Naranpura which had just one forth the number of voters as compared to his previous assembly Sarkhej. However, he still won the election by a huge margin of 63,235 votes. Despite being just MLA with a meagre Rs.50 lacs as MLA grant, he mobilized thousands of crores from AUDA, state government and other sources to ensure the development of his constituency.
‘People’s Person’: How MLA Amit Shah’s pioneering work struck a chord with the people
Before delimitation in 2008, Amit Shah’s assembly constituency was the second largest in the state composed of three talukas. With urban development, harnessing youth power, addressing local environment & health issues as his key priorities Shah introduced a series of measures which were strategized to have a long-term benefit for the residents of the constituency. These included the following:
His organizational capacity was recognised by the top BJP leadership and at a relatively younger age of 34 years, Shah was appointed as Secretary of the Gujarat unit of Bharatiya Janta Party in the year 1998.
After a year, Shah was entrusted with the responsibility of Vice-President of the Gujarat unit of Bharatiya Janta Party in 1999.
Amit Shah became the youngest Chairman of the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) at the age of 36 years. Within a span of just one year, he not only recovered the loss of Rs 20.28 crore but made the bank attain a profit of Rs 6.60 crore and distributed a dividend of 10 percent.
Notable achievements as Chairman of ADCB
In 2001, Amit Shah was appointed as the National Coordinator of the Cooperative Wing of Bharatiya Janta Party. In this duration, his impactful deliveries and proven past track record, led colleagues coin a phrase ‘The Grandfather of the Cooperative Movement’ in his honor.
Amit Shah was sworn in as a minister in Gujrat Government for the first time in 2002 and was given charge of important departments like Home, Traffic, Prohibition, Parliamentary Affairs, Law and Excise. His work as Gujarat Home Minister was much appreciated as during his tenure the state witnessed a significant drop in crime rates and no communal conflict was reported. While he took significant steps to modernize the state police, in the same vein he was also instrumental in establishing a state-of-the-art Forensic Laboratory. Notably, world’s first Forensic Science University was stared in Gujarat during his tenure. The traffic Branch of police to protect highways was reconstituted which significantly brought down road accidents and highway crimes. Gujarat’s progress in smart policing was praised by the National Crime Bureau, Govt. of India, when it declared Gujarat as most peaceful state of the country with regard to labour, industrial and farmer conflict. Shah took up several such steps during his tenure as Home Minister under the guidance of then Gujarat CM Shri Narendra Modi, which charted a new path for policing in Gujarat and model for other states.
Himself an avid chess player, Amit Shah became the President of Gujarat Chess Association in 2006 and it was during his tenure only the national championship (National-B) was organized in Gujarat.
In 2009, Amit Shah was appointed as the President of the Ahmedabad Central Board of Cricket Association and the Vice-President of Gujarat State Cricket Association.
Key highlights of his tenure as Cricket Administrator
Owing to the political malevolence, Mr. Amit Shah was sent to jail in 2010 in a fake encounter case. He was acquitted from all charges by a special CBI court on the grounds that all accusations were politically motivated.
Entire Case was politically motivated
Under leadership of Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, Amit Shah successfully dented Congress party’s political prospects in the state by wiping it out at all levels. During his tenure as home minister of Gujarat, a dreaded terrorist Sohrabuddin Sheikh was gunned down by the state police, the Congress led UPA government at the centre, framed charges of fake encounter against Shah to avenge their political slide in Gujarat. During this period country recorded 1200 encounter cases and Gujarat just 19. However, due to Congress’ intent of political vendetta, all 19 cases of Gujarat and just one case from remaining 1189 cases were selected for the inquiry. When he was granted bail after 90 days, the court observed that “There is no prima facie evidence against Amit Shah”. But despite getting bail, he was forced to stay out of Gujarat for two years. In 2015, a special CBI court finally acquitted Shah of all charges with a remark “entire case was politically motivated.”
Recognizing the political acumen and efficiency of Shah, the BJP's national leadership made him the National General Secretary before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and he was given charge of politically most significant state Uttar Pradesh which sends 80 MPs to the Loksabha. Under Shah’s stewardship, BJP won record 73 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Leading return of BJP in Uttar Pradesh
In 2014, after Shri Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India, Amit Shah was appointed the President of "Gujarat State Cricket Association." With his efforts GCA started rebuilding of "Motera Cricket Stadium" which is now knows as “Narendra Modi Stadium” and is considered to be one of the best stadiums in the world.
Key highlights of accomplishments as President-GCA
Acknowledging Amit Shah’s organizational capabilities and commitment towards the party's ideology, the senior party leaders appointed him as the BJP's National President in July 2014. At 49 years of age, Amit Shah became the youngest president of the party.
Some significant milestones include:
Shah’s tireless efforts and his unflinching commitment to party’s programmes and ideology got him the coveted post of National President in July, 2014. He got second term in 2016 and his entire term lasted till 2019. At 49 years of age, Shah is the youngest National President of BJP so far. With political experience and training as a grassroots worker, he seamlessly discharged his duties.
Expanding electoral footprint of the BJP: Prior to 2014, BJP was considered to be a party of Hindi heartland and few western states. But after 2014, due to the popularity of PM Modi and efforts of Shah, BJP not only further strengthened its hold in its traditional bastons but also historically expanded in northeast, east and parts of southern India. BJP succeeded in making its CMs in norther eastern states of Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh; party also became part of ruling alliances in Nagaland, Meghalay, Mizoram and Sikkim. North East Development Alliance (NEDA), a brainchild of Shah, played an important role in political growth of BJP in the north east. In Eastern India, BJP formed its government in Jharkhand in 2014, NDA returned to power in Bihar and BJP emerged as the main opposition party in Odisha and West Bengal after its historical success in 2019 Loksabha Elections. Despite forming government in Karnataka and winning four Loksabha seats in Telengana, BJP still has to go a long way in South, though party has increased its vote base in all southern states. However, due to local factors, during Shah’s tenure party lost assembly elections in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. But party retuned with a bang in 2019 loksabha election by winning 70 of total 72 Loksabha seats falling in these 4 states. Prime Minister Modi’s popularity was one of the main factors in all these electoral success of the BJP between 2014 to 2019. However, Shah’s strategic acumen and organizational skills also played a very important role.
Re-establishing the tradition of ‘Pravas’ (touring): Shah re-established the tradition of Pravas (tours) in the BJP by introducing several new strategic initiatives. Touring was made more effective by introducing concepts like Chakriya Pravas and emphasis on overnight stays. Shah also introduced austerity measures by discouraging five-star culture and travel by charter planes. Such measures to a large scale succeeded in bringing gaps between leaders and common workers. Shah promoted tour culture by setting example by himself, he became first BJP president to tour all states of India within first year of his tenure and during his tenure he spent at least one night in 90% district HQs of India.
Membership Drive: Shah introduced a transparent technology-based membership drive. Such was the effort of Shah and PM Modi’s popularity that in a short period of time BJP membership rose from 2.47 Cr. to 11.20 Cr. and it became world’s largest party overtaking Communist Party of China. Thanks to Shah’s efforts today BJP boosts off more than 18 Cr. members. Its significant that only seven countries in the world have more population than BJP members.
Training Drive: An extensive training drive was also launched to train newly inducted party members. The objective was to train them about party’s ideology and programs so that they can become active member of the party. Millions of workers were trained in thousands of training camps. Besides this Shah also organized training camps for office bearers and assistance of ministers.
Building offices till district level: Shah took up ambitious project of building BJP office in every district HQ of the country. Thanks to Shah’s vision that today BJP either has office or building is in progress in all district HQ of India.
Promoting reading by building libraries: Himself an avid reader, Shah made libraries as an integral part of BJP offices. He also initiated a project to digitize all party documents.
Restructuring Party Organization: Before Shah took over, BJP organization had dozens of departments and cells. Most of these departments and cells did not have a clear mandate and were dysfunctional. Shah dissolved all of them and scientifically carved out 19 departments and 10 projects with a clear mandate and objectives. He also ensured that this structure is followed in each state organization. He constituted a special team for implementation of this initiative.
Sampark (outreach) for Smarthan (support): BJP under Shah selected 4000 public representatives to reach out to imminent personalities from different fields. The objective was to educate these opinion makers about good work done by the Modi government and seek their support for the party. Shah himself started this campaign on 29the May 2018 and met formers Chief of Army Gen Dalbeer Suhag & constitution expert Mr. Subhash Kashyap. Shah met about two dozen imminent personalities under this drive.
Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Vistarak Yojana: Shah once said, “to win election one has to win polling booth”. Following this principle, Shah designed this project to strengthen the party at polling booth level. Party workers, who were given responsibility to appoint booth team and give them party program, was designated as Booth Vistarak. At national level, party appointed 400 thousand Vistaraks. Out of this more than 4 thousand were full time Vistaraks (6 to 12 month engagement). Shah himself played the role of Vistarak and visited 15 booths of five states, starting from Naxalbari of West Bengal.
All India Presidential Vistrit (Extensive) Paravas (Tour): At Bhubaneshwar Executive Meeting of the party in 2017, Shah announced All India Extensive Tour for himself. The purpose was to strengthen party organization and imbibe confidence in party workers. Under the program, Shah visited all states of India spending 3 days in big states, 2 days in medium states and 1 day in UTs and small states. Shah spent 60 days (46 days night stays) travelling more than 50 thousand kilometres. He held 309 organizational meetings and direct interaction with intellectuals, media and other social and economic organizations. During this drive history was made as for the first time National, State, District, Mandal and Booth Presidents of the BJP shared dais.
Strategy for Week states: Shah devised a strategy to expand party footprint in seven weak states namely Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Kerala, Odisha, Tamilnadu, Telengana and West Bengal. Party leaders panned out in these states, programs were made for PM Modi and Shah himself extensively toured. The strategy worked, BJP formed its government in Assam and increased its Loksabha MP tally from 14 in 2014 to 41 in 2019 in these seven states.
Strategy for North East: PM Modi gave special focus to North East in his programs due region’s importance in terms of national unity and its potential of development. Shah took upon himself to use this as an opportunity to expand the party. Due to his relentless efforts, creation of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), alliances with likeminded parties and induction of locally strong leaders, BJP/NDA formed its government in all North-eastern states including Sikkim and in 2019 loksabha election NDA’s tally swelled from 8 to 18 Loksabha seats.
In the year 2016, Amit Shah was made the trustee of the Somnath Temple Trust. Aadi Jyothirlinga Shri Somnath Mahadev Temple is one of the 12 sacred Jyotirlingas, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Lal Krishna Advani are also the trustees of this Trust.
Shah did not contest 2017 Gujarat assembly election and after serving the people as MLA, he entered Indian parliament in 2017 as Member of Rajyasabha from Gujarat.
Being a people’s person, Shah choose to enter parliament by contesting Loksabha election from Gujarat’s prestigious Gandhinagar Loksabha seats in 2019. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Adwani has also contested this seat several times in the past. Shah won by a record margin. He defeated his nearest rival of Congress party by a record margin of 5 lakh 57 thousand votes by securing 70 percent votes polled. He tool oath as Loksabha member on 17th June 2019.
Took oath as Union Minister in Modi government on 30th May 2019
Assume Charge as Union Home Minister on 1st June 2019.
Achievements as Home Minister of India
As Home Minister in Gujarat, Amit Shah used to constantly draw attention to the subjects which were obstructing the security and sovereignty of the country. Today, when he is the Home Minister of the country, he is becoming an important participant in the serious steps taken on those aspects under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi. During his tenure as the Home Minister, the Modi government at the Center has taken conciliatory decisions on many historical and decades-old issues related to making the country's internal security impenetrable. Though the work is in progress but some of the notable works done in first three years are as following.
Abrogation of Article 370 & 35A: The path of peace and progress has been opened in the Kashmir Valley due to a permanent solution to a decades-old problem like Article 370. Path to abrogate Arti 370 was not an easy one due various legal hurdles & lack of required Majority in Rajyasbha. Once again Chankya in Shah was in play, he not only navigated legal hurdles but also managed required support in the parliament to achieve what had always looked impossible. Shah made historical speech in the both houses of parliament and was applauded by none other than Prime Minister Modi himself who gave him full support in implementing this historical legislative amendment. This historic decision has demoralized and weakened the designs of separatism and terrorism in Kashmir. Grassroots democracy has been reinstated in Kashmir by holding peaceful panchayat elections and now Kashmir valley is experiencing fruits of development like rest of the India.
Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA): Besides Article 370, CAA has been part of BJP elections manifestos for a long time. It was only Shah, under PM Modi, who had not only resolve but courage to successfully legislate the CAA. Baffled opposition instigated demonstrations across the country but Shah did not budge and ensured that the CAA becomes a reality. This legislation has given hopes to millions of Indians who were facing unabated persecution on the basis of religion in other countries for decades. Thousand of people have already been given Indian citizenship under the CAA.
Return of peace and Progress in North East: After becoming the Home Minister, Amit Shah also peacefully resolved the pending problems related to the borders of the north-eastern states and internal security there. Vexed issues like Bru-Reang Pact, resolution of Assam-Meghalaya border dispute, resolution of Bodo problem are among few achievements worth mentioning.
Handling Left Wing Extremism & Terrorism: Shah made a concrete strategy on the policy of zero tolerance against Left Wing Extremism. Today the Left Wing Extremism in India has been pushed to corners and is counting its days. The newly attained readiness of the internal security system to terrorism has resulted in the fact that terrorist activities have now been limited to sporadic incidences.
New approach to Disaster Management: After becoming the Home Minister, Shah prepared a complete blueprint to organize the new approach of disaster management according to the ten-point agenda set by PM Modi. His approach to disaster management covers all the crucial aspects related to dealing of calamities beginning from advanced planning to re-habilitation of affected people. Now people of India trust National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and feel comfortable even in extreme calamities once they arrive.
Giant Stride towards Drug Free India: Amit Shah, as the Home Minister, took several steps at the policy level to deal with the challenges of drug trade and drug consumption.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi formed the Ministry of Cooperation on July 6, 2021, Amit Shah was given its charge. Shah's experience in the cooperative sector is wide and extensive. Under the guidance of PM Modi, Ministry of Cooperation is working with the resolve “Sahakar Se Samriddhi” (Prosperity through Cooperation). Shah is working with the goal of positioning the cooperative movement for modern challenges while eliminating instability, creating a transparent system and restoring the confidence of the smallest farmer in the cooperative sector. Shah believes that a robust cooperative moment can become growth engine of India and immensely contribute in country’s GDP.
In a revolutionary step, the Ministry has decided to computerize 63000 PACs across India to ensure maximum transparency and modernization. On the basis of recommendation of Cooperation Ministry, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to increase the housing loan limits of Cooperative Banks by double. In addition to this, now like corporate banks, cooperative banks will also provide door step service to its customers.