BJP National Executive meet in Allahabad starts on Sunday with an eye on the Uttar Pradesh (UP) state elections in 2017. The two-day meet, which will attended by PM Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, is expected to focus on strategy formulation for the UP polls.
Senior members of the Union Cabinet, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and members of Parliament will also take part in the meet. BJP saw a dramatic comeback in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when it contested 78 out of 80 seats in UP and romped home with a stunning tally of 71.
It was the best ever performance by the party in the state, which has been credited, in a large measure, to Modi’s decision to step out of Gujarat and contest from Varanasi and also the organisational skills of Shah, who was then the national general secretary in-charge of the state. With UP polls, BJP hopes to script history again. As the BJP National Executive meet begins today, we take a look at six interesting facts about it:
1) Agenda for UP: The meeting is likely to set the agenda for the Assembly elections in the UP which are less than a year away. “I would have called it as sounding the poll bugle for UP assembly polls but for PM Modi’s rally in Saharanpur last month,” said BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh.
“Nevertheless, Allahabad has been the state’s political epicentre and the place where stalwarts ranging from Jawaharlal Nehru to VP Singh have learnt their ropes. And a party meeting organised here will certainly have a catalytic effect on our efforts to bring about political change in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
2) First time: This is the first time since its establishment three decades ago, the BJP has chosen the city for holding its national executive.
3) Poster spree: Almost all the streets and roundabouts are dotted with billboards or posters welcoming Modi and other leaders to the city and exhorting residents to turn out in huge numbers for the rally which will be held on Monday, immediately after the conclusion of the meeting.
There are also any number of posters displaying the header ‘Mission 265 Plus’ – a term coined by Shah who has repeatedly exhorted workers to aim at achieving a thumping majority for the party in the 403-strong UP assembly.
4) CM candidature: Speculations are rife on whether BJP will decide on a CM candidate for the polls after the meeting. While some reports suggest that PM Modi and Amit Shah have offered Home Minister Rajnath Singh to be BJP’s CM candidate in the state, no official announcement has been made. Rajnath Singh on his part has called these reports “fictitious”, while adding that he would support anyone who the party chooses.
On the other hand, some posters that have been put up in the streets of Allahabad stand out for making a demand that Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi be declared as the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
However, party spokesman Shrikant Sharma has said “such decisions are taken at the Parliamentary Board meeting which is usually held in Delhi. National Executive is not the place for making such an announcement”.
5) Targetting Smajwadi Party: According to Shrikant Sharma, “the meeting will definitely address the issue of the ‘goonda raj’ unleashed by the ruling Samajwadi Party in the state, which had its worst manifestation in the recent violence at Mathura where land-grabbers enjoying political patronage killed two valiant police officials.”
“The BJP is committed to rid the state of SP and BSP, both of which have ruled the state alternately for more than a decade and brought it to ruins,” he said.
6) An Indian Express report also suggests that PM Narendra Modi and his government’s achievements in its first two years will be the highlights of the BJP’s two-day national executive.