THE BJP may have re-aligned with JD(U), but party chief Amit Shah is taking no chances regarding BJP’s electoral prospects in Bihar in the 2019 general election. Shah, it is learnt, has told partymen that the BJP would have its own workers to manage all the booths in the state’s 40 Parliamentary seats, even if the seat is given to its allies.
Shah, who is scheduled to visit Bihar in November, met the BJP’s state core committee members on Thursday and gave specific instructions that the party would have its members to oversee electioneering in all the booths. Sources said the move is aimed at consolidating the gains made by the BJP since it parted ways with the JD(U) in 2013. Another reason, said sources, is that the JD(U), which returned to the NDA fold in July, does not have the organisational strength to repeat its performance in the 2015 Assembly elections.
The BJP-led NDA had won 31 of the 40 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Party leaders said that in 2019, leaving the management of seats which its allies contest to them would not be wise as they do not claim the organisational strength and network like the BJP. “Retaining the party’s current tally is very important for the BJP in 2019. The party leadership is not ready to take any chance,” said a BJP leader. Shah’s strategy to continue to focus on the BJP’s organisational strength in Bihar comes after a section of BJP leaders expressed apprehensions that the coming together of the BJP and JD(U) would undo the achievements the former made alone in the past three years.
In order to keep workers’ spirits up, the BJP president has asked all ministers from the party to meet them frequently. They were asked to be available at the party headquarters for two days at the beginning of every week. State leaders have been asked to make a roster to see that every minister complies, said sources.
The BJP, which contested the 2015 state polls with smaller allies, was defeated by the Grand Alliance of the JD(U), RJD, and Congress, but emerged as the largest party with a voteshare of about 24.42 per cent. The RJD had bagged 18.35 per cent of votes, while the JD(U) got 16.83 per cent. According to Election Commission data, the BJP, which won 53 of the 243 seats, received 93,08015 votes; the RJD, which won 80 seats, bagged 69,95509 voters and the JD(U) that won 71 seats polled 64,17041 votes.