The Union Minister of India, Amit Shah turns 56 on October 22. Shah is currently serving as the National President of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He has played a key role in the party’s emergence as a dominant force in Indian politics and has become the face of an all-new BJP.
Born on 22 October 1964 as Amitbhai Anilchandra Shah, he completed his schooling in Mehsana and pursued his graduation in biochemistry from CU Shah Science College in Ahmedabad. He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of 14.
Amit Shah handled his father’s business for some time. He briefly worked as a stock-broker and also with co-operative banks in Ahmedabad.
After joining the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of 14, Shah used to attend local shakhas (branches) of the RSS. Shah became a volunteer for RSS in his college days. He met Narendra Modi for the first time in 1982. During those years, Narendra Modi was an RSS pracharak (promoter) working as the in-charge of the youth activities in Ahmedabad.
The same year, Amit Shah became the secretary of the RSS’ student body Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). He joined the BJP in 1986. A year later, Amit Shah became an activist with BJP’s youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and gradually rose through the ranks of the party. He went on to hold various important posts within the party such as state secretary, vice president and general secretary, among others. Amit Shah campaigned for senior BJP leader L.K. Advani who contested the 1991 General Elections from Gandhi Nagar parliamentary constituency in Gujarat.
Amit Shah won the 2002 Gujarat Legislative Assembly Elections from the Sarkhej assembly segment with a margin of close to 1,60,000 votes. Shah was given multiple ministerial portfolios simultaneously in the Narendra Modi government after his victory in the 2002 elections.
In 2004, the UPA-led central government decided to repeal the Prevention of Terror Acts (POTA) law, but Amit Shah managed to get the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GCOC) Bill passed in the state assembly. Amit Shah also played a key role in the passing of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act which would make religious conversions difficult. The bill faced a lot of opposition but Shah defended it successfully.
In July 2014, he was unanimously appointed as the BJP’s national president replacing veteran party leader Rajnath Singh. He was re-elected to the post unanimously in January 2016.