While here in Pakistan we celebrate the budding friendship that has purportedly formed between Modi and Sharif, we are missing out on a more serious agenda in India. Modi is already mired in controversy due to his role in the Gujarat riots and now there is more to be worried about with Amit Shah becoming the new leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Shah is a controversial politician and in 2005 was accused of sanctioning the killing of a Muslim civilian when he was the home minister of the Gujarat state. In 2010, he resigned after he was charged with the murder and kidnapping and was arrested in connection with the killing. He spent more than three months in jail after which he was released on bail and still denies the charges. The only witness to the murder was executed by the police in 2006. The list goes on and includes illegal phone tappings and hate speech.

Modi is playing the game well; as well as can be expected of a Machiavellian prince. He has soft power and hard power firmly in his grip. While he makes overtures of friendship to Pakistan, he wants to make India a global arms manufacturer and has Russia on his side. India is also pandering to the US, so international relations are well covered. Inside of India however, it seems the politics is going to be those of fear and intimidation.

The appointment of Shah makes sense for Modi, as he tries to create politics around him that benefit only him. Shah has a reputation for being a good organizer and was appointed head of BJP’s campaign in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh and helped win an unprecedented 71 of 80 seats. However, during the campaign, the Election Commission barred him from addressing rallies due to his affinity for hate speech against the Muslim community. As a long-time member of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological source of the BJP, Mr Shah has known Mr Modi for more than three decades and will give Mr Modi complete control over the party and the government. If the cases against Shah go forward, the country could have a sitting cabinet minister on trial for murders he allegedly ordered. But for the time being, none of this seems to matter much in Uttar Pradesh where moods are high. As Shah put it, “You need a political vehicle to ensure the air breathes life into a campaign. Only the BJP has that vehicle and only Modi is the leader who can ride it to victory.” With these two rigid right-wingers, and a colourful, often sinister reputation preceding them, one wonders how the face of secular India will be altered, and who will suffer the blows of its ideological transformation.