THE BJP concluded a three-day state-level training camp for its senior leaders in Chitrakoot, a pilgrimage centre in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, with calls for the party to stick to its ideology as it prepares for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Across 13 sessions, the party discussed strategies to reach out to voters through the governance models of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre and the Yogi Adityanath government in the state. The camp also expressed concern about “castes-based alliances” that had taken shape ahead of the Assembly polls earlier this year and which ended up denting the BJP’s results. The BJP also discussed the tie-ups the Samajwadi Party (SP) had made in the recent Assembly polls with smaller parties of backward castes.
The NDA alliance won 64 of 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP in the 2019 elections against a strong SP-BSP-RLD alliance, a fall from the 73 seats the BJP-led alliance won in 2014. In the Assembly polls earlier this year, the BJP won 255 seats while its allies Apna Dal (S) won 12 and NISHAD Party won six seats. Though the party came back with a clear majority, its tally was a fall from 2017, when the party alone won 312 seats.
Sources said Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who lost his Assembly election from Sirathu to the SP’s Pallavi Patel, delivered a lecture on ‘Present political scenario in UP and challenges for the BJP’ and asked leaders to stick to the party’s ideology and avoid becoming “over confident”.
The sources said it was pointed out to them that the BJP would be seeking a third straight term under Narendra Modi’s leadership, and that the party would have to watch out for anti-incumbency. BJP leaders have been told to reach out to voters with a comparison of welfare works done by the Modi government in the past eight years with the rule of the Congress and other political parties.
Party leaders at the camp also sat for lectures on the “BJP’s role in nation-rebuilding”, welfare schemes of the Modi government, foreign policy and defence capabilities of India, media and poll management.
Said a party leader, “Such training sessions are often organised for district-level and regional leaders and workers. But it was after almost a decade that such a training camp had been organised for state-level leaders in which Union ministers from UP and Cabinet ministers of the state government participated. We all know about the party and its ideology. But the camp helped us update ourselves on the party’s vision for the future.”
The exercise comes days after some of the ministers in the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet, including Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak, raised questions on transfer of officials. Minister of State for Jal Shakti Dinesh Khatik had even offered to resign, alleging that officers of his departments were not listening to him because he was a Dalit.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath addressed the concluding session of the camp on Sunday and praised the Modi government at the Centre for investing in the development in Bundelkhand with expressways, road connectivity, and drinking water.
During their stay in Chitrakoot, BJP leaders followed the party’s directive and used e-rickshaws to visit religious places such as Kamadgiri Hills, where they did a ‘parikrama’, and Mandakini, where they attended an aarti. According to legend, Chitrakoot is where Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman spent their time during exile.