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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Eye on 2022 polls, Nadda begins meetings with Union ministers

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were among those present at the party headquarters for the first such meeting Saturday.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
Updated: June 27, 2021 7:59:17 am
Eye on 2022 polls, Nadda begins meetings with Union ministersBJP president J P Nadda and Union ministers Amit Shah. (File)

BJP president J P Nadda Saturday began a series of interactions with Union ministers to streamline the coordination between the party and the government ahead of next year’s set of Assembly elections.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were among those present at the party headquarters for the first such meeting Saturday. Sources said the meetings will be held to “discuss preparations for the party for the Assembly elections next year as well as to improve the implementation of the social welfare schemes of the government”.

Saturday’s meeting was also attended by Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Dharmendra Pradhan, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal and Kiran Rijijju.

It came less than a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his latest round of meetings with senior ministers to assess the performance of key ministries.

The party on Saturday also named Bhabesh Kalita and Sharda Devi as presidents of its Assam and Manipur units, respectively.

Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa are slated for early next year. The BJP is expected to be in a direct fight with the main opposition Congress in all these states — except Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP has launched a massive exercise to invigorate its cadre. Two other party-ruled states, Gujarat and HImachal Pradesh, will also go to polls by December 2022.

The BJP is in power in all these states except Punjab, and has been holding a series of meetings of its senior leaders as it works to put up an impressive show in the next round of elections.

“The crisis and confusion during the second wave of the pandemic have forced the party to go back to the board to review our strategies. It sends a clear message that the party does not want to give in to the criticism, but would rather focus on improving the effectiveness of the party machinery and delivery mechanism,” said a senior BJP leader.

The party and the government have already launched an aggressive damage control exercise after criticism over the handling of the second Covid-19 wave. The party has revived organisational activities in the state units—revamping the state executives, making fresh appointments and taking steps to set the narrative in its favour.

The ministers’ meeting was followed by another session with BJP general secretaries. Prime Minister Modi has called yet another meeting of his Council of Ministers on June 30.

Nadda, who has been present at most of the “freewheeling” review meetings held by the Prime Minister with his senior ministers in the last few weeks, has to pass on the takeaways and discuss how to implement them with the organisation, sources said.

The meetings also saw discussions on the anger among workers over “some issues” during the second wave. It was felt that they need to be placated as well since some of them were affected by the pandemic, sources said.

“Bettering the implementation of the welfare schemes and its delivery mechanism is a way to assuage the criticism against the government,” said the senior party leader quoted above.

With the state BJP governments being asked to focus on the vaccination drive, they have launched publicity campaigns crediting Prime Minister Modi for launching the “world’s largest vaccination programme”.

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