In a bid to maximise its electoral gains, the BJP’s national leadership is likely to opt for Assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand along with the Lok Sabha polls this year, party sources told The Indian Express.
The top leadership’s assessment — that simultaneous polls in these states could be their best bet — has been conveyed to the party’s state leaders, sources said.
While the BJP leadership in Maharashtra and Jharkhand are keen to complete their terms, a section of leaders in Haryana believe that going with the Lok Sabha polls would give them the advantage, sources said. Read this story in Bangla
Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana are due in October, while the term of the Jharkhand Assembly ends in December. A final decision will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, sources said.
In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena wants the BJP to opt for simultaneous polls although Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is keen to complete his term. “The Sena has conveyed that it is ready to fight both Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in alliance if they are held together,” said a party leader.
Although BJP president Amit Shah has indicated that the party should be prepared to go alone in Maharashtra, it does not want to break its alliance with the Sena.
The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won 41 of the 48 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections but fought the Assembly polls held five months later separately. The BJP won 122 seats in the 288-member Assembly and the Sena 63.
In the backdrop of BJP losing ground in states where it had won convincingly in 2014, such as UP and Rajasthan, it is keen to retain its allies and rope in more. The party is focusing on West Bengal and the North-East while working hard to cut down possible losses in states like Maharahstra.
“In Haryana, if the BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi does well, Manohar Lal Khattar, who faces anti-incumbency, could get the advantage. If the party does not do well in the Lok Sabha polls, its prospects will be bleak,” said sources.
In this context, sources said, a win in the Jind bypoll, for which voting took place Monday, would be a morale-booster for the party to go ahead with this plan. Jind witnessed a multi-cornered contest involving the BJP, state opposition party INLD, the Congress and the JJP, a breakaway group of INLD formed by Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Chautala.