A series of defeats in the by-elections seems to have forced the BJP to change its style of functioning in Uttar Pradesh by re-balancing power equations and tweaking its approach. The BJP leadership in the state has been asked to strengthen its coordination with the ideological family — the Sangh Parivar — and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed to work closely with the organisation, according to sources. The message is to “involve the bureaucracy less and work more closely with party leaders”, right from the booth level up to the Assembly level, the sources said. In the new organisational set-up, the network of vistaraks and panna pramukhs will play the most crucial roles, they said.
It is learnt that party leaders with solid organisation background will be given priority in the upcoming reshuffle of the Uttar Pradesh cabinet. Adityanath is expected to revamp his council of ministers before mid-July. With both the BJP leadership and the RSS not happy with the electoral performance of the Adityanath-led government — according to sources, the party’s defeat in Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll was the worst for them — there are reports of changes in power equations. While the Chief Minister and other leaders have reportedly been asked to coordinate with national joint general secretary (organisation) Shivprakash, Sunil Bansal, who has been playing the most significant role in the state organisation, has been asked to take “two steps back” for the time being.
Sources in the party said several leaders have approached the national leadership with their displeasure over Bansal’s functioning.
The BJP national leadership had issued a warning to the party’s state leaders to end factionalism and work together before the elections, but, sources said, the internal strife is seen as intensifying.
The party’s Uttar Pradesh affairs in-charge O P Mathur has also been distancing himself from state affairs due to his differences with Bansal, it is learnt. According to a source, Adityanath will now travel to all districts of UP to meet party workers and leaders at different levels. “The CM has been asked to hold closed-door meetings with office-bearers of panchayat to district level, and will have to take their feedback and suggestions. He has also been asked to have frequent meetings with Shivprakash,” the source said.
Data based on votes polled in 2017 Assembly elections show that if opposition Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Congress come together, the BJP could lose nearly 50 seats from the state in 2019. The BJP-led NDA had won 73 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2014. During assessment of the BJP’s performance in Kairana bypolls, the party leadership is said to have found out that a large section of BJP workers did not work in the run-up to the voting day. “This was mainly due to their unhappiness with those in charge of the election,” the source said. “There is no provision to take disciplinary action when a party worker does not work according to his capacity, so the leadership had to see that their approach to the workers has to be change.”