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Amit Shah scripts victory with Modi in lead role

From snapping ties with HJC to snubbing INLD, BJP planned campaign meticulously.

Written by MUKESH BHARDWAJ | Chandigarh |
Updated: October 20, 2014 11:03:08 am

After the BJP won seven out of eight seats it contested in Haryana in the Lok Sabha elections, the party immediately set its sights on the Haryana Assembly and deployed its master strategist Amit Shah to run the campaign.

While Shah worked on the nuts and bolts of the campaign, including selection of candidates, Prime Minister Narendra Modi weaved a magic web to bring about an unprecedented victory for the BJP.

The party left no doubts about its intention when it snapped ties with the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) after its chief Kuldeep Bishnoi did not agree to revise the seat-sharing formula and forego his chief ministerial claims. The BJP then quashed all rumours about a possible tie-up with the INLD post-elections. Modi minced no words in declaring that the BJP would have nothing to do with those behind bars.

Shah was deliberately given responsibility for the BJP poll campaign in order to avoid bickering among local leaders staking claim for the chief minister’s chair.

The party had to make sure that Modi jumped into the arena as Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda always drew comparisons between Haryana and Gujarat. Even before the elections were announced, Modi set the tone at an event in Kaithal, trashing Hooda’s development claims. It was here that Hooda was booed by the crowd.

Modi went on to address a dozen rallies in the state, trashed the claims of the government, exposed its dubious land deals and assured a clean and progressive government while ensuring that his wave continues in the state.

The campaign was meticulously organised, with no leader being declared chief ministerial candidate. At Jind, while taking veteran Congress leader Birender Singh into the fold, Shah said the party knows how to honour leaders like him. It was taken as a hint that Singh was a possible choice as chief minister. However, when the tickets were announced, Singh’s name was missing while his wife was made a candidate. This was done to quell murmurs in the party that a turncoat was being promoted.

At another rally, Shah said the possibility of a non-Jat leading the state cannot be ruled out. And finally, speaking at Narnaund, he patted Captain Abhimanyu saying the party had sent him to Haryana with a greater role to play. Abhimanyu, who was earlier not given a ticket for the Lok Sabha elections, is a Jat leader and considered a strong contender for the top post.

The BJP also brought in RSS leader Kailash Vijayvargiya to take care of the day-to-day campaigning. Vijayvargiya camped in the state and marched along with more than 40 candidates to the Dera Sacha Sauda of Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim. He secured the support of the dera, which made a huge difference to the electoral outcome. BJP secretary Anil Jain worked quietly while coordinating with the Sangh Parivar during elections. He looked after leaders who switched loyalties to the BJP from other parties.

The party strategy was played out from the day the party won the Lok Sabha polls. That two MPs —- Rao Inderjit and Krishan Pal Gurjar —- were included in the Union cabinet was part of the plan.

The BJP was strong in the northern part, but did not expect much from Sirsa, the stronghold of the Chautalas. It was also wary of Rohtak and Jhajjar and pinned its hopes on southern Haryana, besides its traditional stronghold in urban areas. The strategy paid off and the party got seats in almost all parts of the state except Sirsa district.

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