Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah assumed charge as Union Home Minister on Saturday, but chose to hit the ground running. Donning a white kurta and a light blue jacket, he took charge of the Home Ministry around noon.
The 54-year-old known as BJP’s master-strategist would show a new avatar in Modi cabinet 2.0. Shah tweeted: “Took over as the Home Minister of India today. I express my gratitude to the Prime Minister for believing in me. The security of the country and the welfare of the countrymen is the top priority of the Modi government, I will make every effort to complete it”.
A usual sombre Ministry of Home Affairs was buzzing with activity on Saturday as the employees, BJP workers and mediapersons thronged the gallery. But Shah, who is known to be a hard taskmaster, was on the job with packed with scheduled meetings.
Amongst those who met Shah in North Block were Kerala Governor Palanisamy Sathasivam, Maharasthra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Lt Governor Puducherrry Dr Kiran Bedi and Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik.
Chief Minister of Uttrakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat also called on the Home Minister.
Amit Shah took over the baton of the Home Ministry from Rajnath Singh, who has been given charge of the Ministry of Defence.
Shah will decide the agenda on key national security issues. His biggest challenges will be Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir situation, left wing extremism and illegal immigration in the Northeast.
As the Home Minister, Shah will also play a crucial role in defining the Centre’s relationship with the states. His patience will be tested when it comes to dealing with opposition leaders of states of West Bengal and Delhi.
Jammu and Kashmir could be the biggest challenge before the new Home Minister. An upcoming Amarnath Yatra and conducting state Assembly elections will be imminent challenges. Shah had promised voters that the PM Narendra Modi-led BJP would annul Article 35A of the Constitution and abrogation of Article 370, which allows the state a separate flag and constitution.
The key focus of the Modi government will be to deal with illegal immigration. During an election rally, Shah had said, “Illegal immigrants are like termites. They are eating the grain that should go to the poor, they are taking our jobs.”
Shah has been a Rajya Sabha member, minister in the Gujarat government and MLA in the state legislative assembly. He served as a Minister of State in Gujarat from 2002 to 2010 and held key portfolios including home, transport, prohibition, parliamentary affairs, law and excise.
Incidentally, Shah was also the Home Minister in Gujarat when the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister.