BJP president Amit Shah’s scheduled three-day visit to Mumbai between June 16 and 18 is being perceived as a mammoth exercise to put the organisation on poll mode, with the theme Shat Pratishat BJP (100 per cent BJP). In Maharashtra, specially after the Uttar Pradesh polls, the BJP is aiming for an absolute majority, faced with a united Congress-NCP and bickering ally the Shiv Sena. Moreover, after sweeping local body elections, the party wants to consolidate its gains across the state.
A highly placed source in the BJP told The Indian Express, “Shah’s Mumbai visit will involve a series of meetings with ministers, elected members of the state legislature and the Parliament. It would be followed by deliberations with non-government organisations and prominent people from different walks of life.”
Although elections in the state and at the Centre are scheduled for 2019, in Maharashtra, the BJP wants to have a Plan B ready in case its relations with the Sena sour further.
“The underlying theme for the party is to be ready for polls as early as December 2017,” a senior leader said. For an absolute majority, the BJP would have to increase its present tally of 122 to 145, which many in the party feel is not a tall order.
The state has conveyed to the central leadership that it would like the coalition with the Sena to continue on the BJP’s terms and conditions, and if the Sena continues to create hurdles, the state unit would prefer early polls.
The meetings with Shah is to work out the plans for the party’s expansion for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Of the total 48 seats in the Lok Sabha from Maharashtra, the BJP won 23 in the 2014 elections. During the three-day visit, the party expects to evolve concrete expansion plans apart from its ongoing “vistar and shibir samvaad”, which is to connect to farmers in the rural Maharashtra.
The enrollment drive of 1.10 crore members registered last year is being reviewed to ascertain the present status. The BJP general secretary said, “Last year, we went for digital enrollment. But we have not been able to revisit every individual personally. The purpose of our expansion drive is to reconnect with our members along with trying to extend the connect beyond 1.10 crore.”
The focus of the poll preparations is to activate the party’s 90,000 booths. This covers all 40,913 villages, sources in the party revealed. Shah’s visit to Maharashtra will also involve review of workings within the organisation, an insider said.