Monday, Feb 19, 2018 | Last Update : 09:12 AM IST
Party hopes to cash in on PM Narendra Modi wave ahead of 2019.
New Delhi: Charged by the unprecedented and historic electoral victory in the high-stakes Uttar Pradesh polls, the BJP has decided not to let the moment slip away. The party leadership is all set to advance the Gujarat polls, which are otherwise due to be held in December this year. The BJP is looking at the option of holding the Assembly polls in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state by June this year, sources said.
BJP president Amit Shah, who has emerged as the “most successful” BJP chief ever, has yet again set up a goal and this time his mission statement is: “UP mein 325, Gujarat mein 150”. The Gujarat Assembly has a strength of 182, in which the BJP now has 123 seats.
The BJP’s mascot in Gujarat will again be none other than Mr Modi himself. The mission statement is likely to be accompanied by pictures of the Prime Minister along with Mr Shah.
Party strategists feel there “is a wave” in favour of the Prime Minister and that the BJP needs to cash in on it. The party is aware of the “mistake” it made by delaying the elections in Delhi, a senior BJP leader said.
The BJP seems to be in trouble in Gujarat with dalits and influential Patidar community rising against the saffron government. The Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti has been at the forefront of agitations against the BJP government. JD(U) chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has also thrown his weight behind Hardik Patel.
AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been repeatedly visiting the state to make inroads. The AAP apparently wants to emerge as an alternative to the BJP on Mr Modi’s home turf.
The Congress has also been regrouping and the party had bounced back by trouncing the BJP in the civic polls.
After the crushing defeat in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress is yet again in disarray and the AAP’s failure to win Punjab has dealt a severe blow to Mr Kejriwal’s ambitions to emerge as a national alternative to Mr Modi.
But BJP leaders now feel that the party’s massive wins in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have changed the narrative and the BJP led by Mr Modi is again in the lead. The party’s spin doctors believe if the elections are brought forward, the BJP will be in a position to sweep the polls in the state.
Mr Shah has reportedly begun his work by holding a series of parleys and doing what he does best, that is to strengthen booth-level activities.
That the party is now seriously considering advancing the elections became evident with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani saying: “We are prepared even if elections are held early.” The chief minister had also said that the results in Uttar Pradesh indicated that the wind was blowing in the BJP’s favour. “The win in Uttar Pradesh is not a momentary outburst of people’s sentiments for the BJP, the wind is blowing in favour of the party as people have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Mr Rupani told the local media in Gujarat.