It was Shah, ratified as party chief at the BJP national council meet here on Saturday, who set down the rules of engagement. The Prime Minister, describing Shah as the "man of the match" and Rajnath Singh "captain" of the team that took the party to victory in the Lok Sabha polls, reposed full faith in the new party president's leadership.
Shah too showered praises on Modi, 13 years his senior, saying that in 75 days he has restored confidence "that somebody who cares is now sitting in Delhi".
But he made it clear that the government bear in mind the promises made in the party manifesto and suggested that ministers prepare a time-bound plan for their implementation and communicate these to party cadre. "I earnestly appeal to all our brothers and sisters in the government to bear in mind the commitments made in our manifesto," said Shah, addressing nearly 2,000 members of the party's highest decision-making body.
Shah recalled his humble beginning in the party as a booth worker and Modi's as a tea vendor, saying that it was when the party declared Modi as its prime ministerial candidate that the poor backed it. "Thanks to this, a man who was a common karyakarta, will hoist the national flag on Independence Day," said Shah.
Shah, whose first major challenge will be the assembly elections in four states — Maharashtra, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand — later this year, asked the cadre to commit itself to ensuring victory through an "overwhelming" majority in all of them.
Like Shah, Modi too insisted on concentrating at the booth level. Both spoke of Antyodaya (welfare of the last man) as the ultimate goal. Referring to states going to polls later, Modi said the party should take all elections seriously from the "panchayat to state assemblies". "Let there be no state or union territory where the BJP is not a force to reckon with," he said.