To strengthen its base and boost the morale of party workers at the grassroot level, the BJP has decided to contest the panchayat elections for the first time in Uttar Pradesh. It has also decided to contest the elections to the cooperative bodies.
The three-tier panchayat polls are due to be held in the state in 2015. While the political parties cannot field candidates on party symbol, BJP has decided to announce its candidates and campaign for them. It will also engage senior leaders, including MPs and MLAs, to campaign in favour of the candidates named by the party.
“As we will be contesting the panchayat elections for the first time in the state, election rules have been obtained from the State Election Commission. We have decided to organise training camps for party workers upto grassroot level so that they could start preparing for the these polls,” said Laxmikant Bajpai, party state president.
Bajpai said the decision to contest the panchayat elections will strengthen the party organisation upto the village level.
At panchayat level, election will be held for nearly 6 lakh village panchayat members, 51,000 village heads (pradhans), 821 block heads, around 64,000 khestra (area) panchayat members, 2,624 members of district panchayat and 75 district panchayat chairmen.
A senior party leader said that the impact of panchayat polls results would hold significance in the Assembly polls as the issues for these polls would be local. “Contesting local body election helps the party in both the Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections in urban areas. Panchayat elections will help in developing cadre in rural areas,” said a senior BJP leader, adding that workers had been demanding for a long time that the party should contest panchayat polls.
The decision to contest the panchayat and cooperative bodies elections is a part of BJP’s road map to get power in the state in 2017. Party is focusing its energy on presenting itself as the ‘main opposition’ party inside and outside the state Assembly. For over a week, different wings of the BJP have staged dharna and agitations aggressively outside the Vidhan Sabha on various issues including law and order.
To spread a message that NDA government was concerned about the local issues, MLAs and district units of the party have been directed to submit proposals for development works that could be implemented by the Centre as well as those which are pending because of negligence of the former UPA government.