Stung BJP gears up for Lok Sabha polls, lines up meetingshttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/stung-bjp-gears-up-for-lok-sabha-polls-lines-up-meetings-5492854/

Stung BJP gears up for Lok Sabha polls, lines up meetings

Sources said that before February, Modi is to address around 120 cluster of constituencies where the BJP is perceived to be weak. The party has assessed that his popularity has not dwindled, and is likely to bank heavily on his image.

Stung BJP gears up for Lok Sabha polls, lines up meetings
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, senior leader L K Advani and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the BJP parliamentary party meeting Thursday. (Express photo by Praveen Jain)

Stung by poll defeats in the Hindi heartland, the BJP is back in action mode for the Lok Sabha elections. The party has prepared a hectic programme sheet for its leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the coming months.

Sources said that before February, Modi is to address around 120 cluster of constituencies where the BJP is perceived to be weak. The party has assessed that his popularity has not dwindled, and is likely to bank heavily on his image.

The ruling party is expected to launch its campaign for the Lok Sabha polls with its national executive meeting on January 11-12 in the national capital. Before that, party chief Amit Shah will assess the preparatory work with leaders of various wings of the organisation.

Shah is expected to hold a meeting of Yuva Morcha leaders, including its district heads, on December 15-16 and a national executive meeting of Mahila Morcha is to be held in Ahmedabad on December 21-22. The meeting of Scheduled Caste Morcha will be held on January 19-20 in Nagpur, minority morcha leaders will meet in Delhi on January 31-February 1, and Scheduled Tribe Morcha leaders will have their national executive in Bhubaneswar on February 2-3. The OBC Morcha will meet in Patna on February 15-16 and Kisan Morcha leaders on February 21-22 in Uttar Pradesh, BJP general secretary Bhupinder Yadav said.

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Explained

All hands on deck for big battle in 2019

After the disappointing Assembly election results, BJP chief Amit Shah is getting the party wings and morchas into full-fledged poll preparation mode. Before February, Shah as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to address leaders of all morchas up to the district level. With Modi being the party’s major trump card, he is likely to address dozens of rallies in areas where the BJP is weak.

While Modi is to address the Mahila Morcha gathering on December 22 and Kisan Morcha on January 22, Shah will preside over all the meetings. Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Thaawarchand Gehlot will address the SC Morcha meeting and Home Minister Rajnath Singh will address the ST Morcha meeting. Rajnath Singh, former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das will address the OBC leaders in Patna. On February 16, a massive rally of OBC leaders will be held in Patna.

Chouhan’s assignment is significant as he is increasingly being seen as the BJP’s OBC face. It also indicates that Chouhan, who resigned on Wednesday after being in power for 13 years, could be given charge outside the state.

“All these morcha meetings will be conducted keeping the elections in view,” Yadav said.

The dates were finalised at a meeting chaired by Shah Thursday. The BJP chief met his national office-bearers, central leaders in charge of states, chiefs of state units and organisation secretaries to assess the party’s preparation at the booth level.

Yadav said the meeting was to discuss the organisation’s activities. “It was in preparation for the national executive meeting and for morcha national executive meetings,” he said.

Shah asked leaders to put the entire focus on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Referring to the BJP defeats in the Assembly polls, sources said, Shah said the Congress may have won the polls but the BJP has not lost, apparently refrerring to the vote share and the seats won.

Earlier in the day, the party kept aside the first meeting of the parliamentary party in the winter session to pay tribute to its late leaders — former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar — and those killed in the 2001 Parliament attack. After the new Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar read out the obituary message, the PM addressed party MPs.

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According to sources, Modi urged his MPs to read about Vajpayee. “The PM wanted all MPs to read Vajpayeeji’s speeches and his works because, he said, we would get guidance and direction,”said an MP who attended the meeting.