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Man-to-Man Marking, Busy Phone Lines, All-Nighters: How Amit Shah Executed Mission Kashmir

Author: Payal Mehta
Publication: News18.com
Date: August 6, 2019
URL:      https://www.news18.com/news/politics/kashmir-article-370-special-status-amit-shah-ladakh-jammu-kashmir-union-territory-2259751.html

Detailed planning, top-level secrecy and solid execution by a dedicated team ensured that the repeal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, which once seemed an impossible task, was achieved smoothly by the Union government in Parliament.

The legislation and its intent were conceived well in advance by the top two at Centre - Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. The task, after getting all the technicalities in place after days of consultations, was to see if there was enough ground to achieve the impossible.

The government’s decision to extend the Budget session from July 26 to August 7 was also not without reason. Then began what was called a ‘dress rehearsal’.

The floor management for the RTI Bill laid the foundation firmly for the government. Not only was the Opposition stunned by the government’s numbers, but was also left questioning who it could trust even within. Parties such as the BJD and TRS, who signed notes to be in the Opposition fold, joined hands with the BJP overnight.

Floor managers who went beyond the parliamentary affairs team were on the job. Shah’s trusted colleagues, Piyush Goyal, Dharmendra Pradhan and the recent addition from TDP, CM Ramesh, worked the phone lines. Calls made to BJD chief Naveen Patnaik, YSR chief Jagan Mohan Reddy and TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao made the move a possible success.

The same formula was applied for the Triple Talaq Bill and history repeated itself for Team Shah. Man-to-man marking started delivering results yet again, which further helped the government win confidence among political circles. Hectic activity was seen in Amit Shah’s Parliament office starting Friday evening and the meeting with his core team lasted till midnight. By then, it was plain that the government was planning to do something big on Monday.

Movement of officers and ministers continued at Shah’s office even during the weekend. In fact, Sunday night saw meetings stretching till 1am.

Sources say only 4-5 ministers in the government were privy to details and the home minister picked his team with caution.

Not only did the floor managers work overnight, but Shah made personal calls to NDA partners. The government also reached out to BSP chief Mayawati through Satish Chandra Mishra. In fact, the contribution of a key leader from the Northeast, who worked quietly behind the scenes, proved quite effective.

The decision to repeal Article 370 and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir was conveyed to Cabinet colleagues in a meeting on Monday morning at the residence of PM Modi. The details were explained and most of them stayed back till almost the start of the day’s proceedings in Parliament, much like during the demonetisation decision, to avoid any possible leak.

At half past 10, a smiling Amit Shah entered Parliament. The rest, as they say, created history.
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