As the BJP was preparing for the Assam assembly election last year, BJP president Amit Shah received a call from his north-east pointsman, Himanta Biswa Sarma. The former Congressman wanted approval on some organisational matters.
Sarma’s swift political manoeuvrings since then have delivered several North-eastern states to the BJP, including Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur. He brought six Trinamool Congress MLAs in Tripura to the BJP, making it the main opposition party in the assembly.
Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have groomed many more Sarmas in the BJP, effecting a generational change in the party founded in 1980.
If Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were among its first generation leaders with a Jan Sangh background, the second generation, who came to prominence in 1990s, included Pramod Mahajan, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar, Shivraj Singh, Vasundhara Raje, and Ravishankar Prasad, among others.
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