February 10, 2021 7:09:18 am
Both the BJP and Congress have started preparations for the panchayat elections that Uttar Pradesh Panchayati Raj Minister on Monday said would be held by the April 30 deadline set by the Allahabad High Court. The elections hold special significance as they are being held a year before the state holds Assembly polls.
BJP national vice-president Radha Mohan Singh is reviewing the progress of the party’s poll preparations for the rural civic elections and has allotted responsibilities to senior party leaders, while Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has taken things into her hands and plans to reach out to villages and farmers across the state in the next 10 days as part of the party’s “Jai Jawan-Jai Kisan” campaign. The campaign will begin on February 10 in Saharanpur district.
The BJP has appointed senior leaders to supervise poll preparations in six regions of the state. These leaders are constantly camping in their allotted regions and holding meetings at the village and panchayat levels, preparing the party cadre to identify the right candidates and respond to the issues that the Opposition will raise.
BJP leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak claimed that despite being the ruling party, the saffron party had done the most to reach out to people at the panchayat level. “We are reaching out with the initiatives of both the central and the state governments for the betterment of farmers and farmers’ income. If the Opposition makes allegations, then we are ready to respond to them with facts,” he added.
The Congress, meanwhile, has divided its poll machinery into five zones, appointing leaders in each of them. These leaders are campaigning at the Nyaya panchayat level at present. The party’s target to have at least two active hands at each Nyaya Panchayat, and identify the right candidates.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is being assisted in the campaign by former Union ministers, former state presidents, and former MPs such as Nirmal Khatri, Pramod Tiwari, Harendra Mallik, Raj Babbar and PL Punia, and leaders such as Sachin Pilot, Randeep Singh Hooda, Hardik Patel, and Navjot Singh Sidhu. During the outreach campaign, these senior leaders, including Vadra, will camp in different parts of the state and address gatherings.
“Starting from Saharanpur on Wednesday, Priyanka ji, along with other senior party leaders, will be in different parts of the state, including Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Bijnor etc for the next 10 days as part of the ‘Jai Jawan-Jai Kisan’ campaign,” said Congress leader Lallan Kumar, adding that this campaign would help the party strengthen its presence at the panchayat level.
Congress leaders claim to have formed a team of 28,575 workers at the block and Nyaya Panchayat levels for the elections. Shailendra Tiwari, who is in charge of the party’s central zone, told The Indian Express, “While we are focusing on the outreach program at the Nyaya Panchayat level and identification of candidates, we are also exposing the claims of the BJP government about the farm laws. We are telling people about how it has snatched away the rights of farmers.”
The Samajwadi Party is yet to prepare its election strategy. Senior party leaders said the strategy would be finalised after party president Akhilesh Yadav gets back to the state after the ongoing Parliament session.
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