By Deepak Sharma
New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) Even as media focus remains glued to the working of the all powerful Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the functioning style of Shah's office has barely changed. Like the Bharatiya Janata Party President's office, the Home Minister's Office(HMO)now works in 24x7 mode.
As usual, Shah continues to start the day early in the morning by sifting through the newspapers, scanning first news related to his ministry. One of the lesser known facts about Shah is that he not only reads the 'critical news' published against him, but also gets such news clippings uploaded on his personal website amitshah.co.in.
One of his close associates explains it more clearly, "Amit bhai believes in nindak nearey rakhiye (keep your critics close so that you can know your faults and later try to rectify them). A reason why he is not averse to the idea of uploading negative news about him on his own website."
For Amit Shah, who also maintains a personal diary, uploading critical news on his website is not a new practice. For instance, a news item published on the digital platform of a Hindi channel uploaded on Shah's website carries the headline: "Hitler ki tarah samvidhan badal denge Modi aur Shah (like Hitler, Shah and Modi will change Constitution)".
During the poll season when Congress leader Raj Babbar called Amit Shah a gangster, the BJP President did not hesitate to upload Raj Babbar's highly objectionable statement against him on the website.
"Last year, a news item uploaded on Shah's website carried the headline, 'Amit Shah losing winning touch, BJP needs a new strategy'. It raised several eyebrows at the party headquarters. A section of the press had been sharply critical of Amitbhai after our defeat in the Assembly polls in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Though Amit bhai, with a large heart acknowledged his critics, he did not lose the motivational spirit to carry on his mission to win," said a party office-bearer at the BJP headquarters located at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg in the capital.
"Opposition parties project Amit bhai as an arrogant man. However, it's far from the truth. He is strict and disciplined but not arrogant. In fact, he is very simple by nature, unfussy and unadorned. You may be surprised to know that he prefers to stay in regular guest houses instead of luxury five star hotels. He can even sleep on a sofa or a cot," said the office-bearer.
After assuming charge as Union Home Minister at the North Block, people at the party office felt that it would be difficult to communicate with the country's second most powerful man after Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, he was his usual self when he interacted with his co-workers in the party.
"He knows all of us by name and unlike other leaders, Amit bhai doesn't believe in creating a coterie. He utilises actual potential of every single person with whom he works," said a former MLA of UP, supposed to be close to Shah.
At the North Block, the bureaucrats are still adjusting with Shah's high energy work schedule. On Eid or even on Saturday and Sunday last, Shah's office in the Home Ministry continued to function till late evening. Usually on Saturday (and Sunday) it is a holiday for secretaries, joint secretaries, directors and lower rung officials/employees as central government functions on a five-day per week work schedule. But after Shah's entry, key departments like internal security, Jammu and Kashmir affairs, Central state division seem to be running in 24x7 mode.
(Deepak Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)