In a bid to improve its tally in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has devised “different strategies” for the seven seats it could not win the last time in Uttar Pradesh, where the saffron party and its ally put up their best show ever, bagging 73 of the 80 seats.
Of the seven seats the BJP had failed to win, five went to the Samajwadi Party (SP), while the Congress managed to win only from its pocket boroughs – Amethi (Rahul Gandhi) and Rae Bareli (Sonia Gandhi).
Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi told PTI that the party had devised different strategies to win these seven Lok Sabha seats in 2019. “A number of activities have been planned for the party workers at the booth level and an exercise is going on to appoint leaders who will be in charge of these constituencies, so that they can send a strong message to the voters and the party cadre that the BJP stands for development,” he said.
Of the 73 seats won by the NDA in 2014, the BJP alone pocketed 71 with a 42.63 per cent vote share. The other two seats were won by its ally, the Apna Dal.
In 2014, BJP leader and now Union minister Smriti Irani had lifted the morale of the party workers by leading a high-voltage campaign against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi.
Still, the Congress vice-president managed to secure 4,08,651 votes, as opposed to Irani’s 3,00,748. Though Irani lost to the Congress vice-president in Amethi, she managed to reduce his victory margin from around 3.70 lakh in 2009 to 1.07 lakh in 2014.
In Rae Bareli, Sonia Gandhi had secured 5,26,434 votes as opposed to the BJP candidate’s 1,73,721.
According to senior BJP leaders of Amethi, party chief Amit Shah, along with Union minister Smriti Irani, is likely to visit the district – a Congress bastion – on October 10 to unveil a number of projects and lay foundation stones.
The aim of the visit would be to send out a message that the current regime believed in the all-round development of the state and not meting out a stepmotherly treatment to the seats the BJP had failed to win, they said.
Seeking to take the wind out of the sails of Shah and Irani, besides Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, ahead of their proposed visit to Amethi, Rahul had yesterday accused the BJP governments at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh of re-inaugurating the projects launched by the previous UPA regime in his Lok Sabha constituency.
His comments came in the backdrop of reports that Shah will be in Amethi with a number of Union ministers and BJP leaders to take out a rally and lay the foundation stones of several projects.
In the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, the BJP won six of the 10 Assembly seats falling under Amethi and Rae Bareli. Four of them were in Amethi.
In the 2012 Assembly polls, the BJP had failed to win a single seat falling under both the Lok Sabha constituencies. The five seats won by the SP in the 2014 parliamentary polls were Azamgarh, Kannauj, Badaun, Firozabad and Mainpuri.
SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav had won from two seats, but decided to represent Azamgarh and give up Mainpuri, which was subsequently won in a bypoll by another member of the Yadav family.
SP president Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav is the MP from Kannauj.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had earlier exuded confidence that the saffron party would fare better in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
“Our target is to increase the party’s vote share from its 2014 tally of 42 per cent to 60 per cent in 2019. To ensure that, we will take the achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government to each and every section of society,” he had said as the then state BJP chief, a post now held by Mahendra Nath Pandey.
The saffron party’s public meeting on October 10 has been planned near the Samrat Cycle campus on Musafirkhana Road.
The venue holds significance as Irani had created a stir in 2015 by accusing the top Congress leadership of usurping nearly 65 acres of land acquired from farmers for setting up a manufacturing unit, Samrat Cycle, a project that never materialised.
Union ministers Irani, Gadkari and Manoj Sinha are expected to lay foundation stones or inaugurate projects such as an FM radio station, a Sainik School, the district headquarters and a civil court building, a Krishi Vigyan Kendra, ITIs and railway and road projects at Amethi.