VENKATESH KESARI | 29 MARCH, 2017
NEW DELHI: The BJP has fast forwarded its preparations for the Lok Sabha elections with Parliament abuzz with the possibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi advancing these to 2018. Congress leaders confirmed “fears” that the BJP will move to hold the general elections now with the state Assembly polls scheduled next year in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh.
According to the sources, Union ministers have been told to increase the number of tours in the Lok Sabha constituencies lost by the party and ensure effective implementation of the Centre's welfare schemes there.
They have been advised to take breakfast,lunch and diner at the residence of local leaders in these constituencies instead of at guest house or hotels,the sources said.
The BJP, thus is focusing on West Bengal,Orissa,Tamil Nadu,Kerala, Telengana and Punjab, where it failed to gain in the last elections. Maharashtra is another key state where the BJP, sensing an opportunity in the recent civil polls, is moving full steam ahead to marginalise ally Shiv Sena further.
" The Shiv Sena cannot ally with any party except the BJP for the simple reason that no party wants to be seen with it due to its anti minorities,anti south Indian and norfth Indians," a BJP strategist said.His reading was that even if a section wants to, the Congress as a whole will not be able to stitch an alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra for the above reasons. The BJP, thus, remains the Shiv Sena’s only alternative.
According to him,the Shiv Sena has only two options.First,to remain in the NDA as a junior partner of the BJP in Maharashtra. Second,to fight elections on its own. It tried to experiment with the last in the recent polls but was unable to eclipse the BJP that has made visible inroads into the Shiv Sena’s base as well.
After the Uttar Pradesh elections where it literally swept to victory, the BJP and the RSS are sensing an opportunity that they do not want to lose. The Opposition is in complete disarray, and it is clear that the Congress party is currently without an effective leader or strategy to even start building an alliance of sorts. Many of the regional parties in the states are not totally averse to possible alliance with the BJP, and as the sources said, the BJP is keen to seize this and move towards an early election.
" Modi is turning the general election into almost a Presidential election. We have to project a Prime Minister against him whenever elections are held. And he or she should be a strong leader with an experience of working in governments.Right now we don't have such a face and those who have such experience are not acceptable in the party,forget our prospective allies," said a former Chief Minister of the Congress, articulating the concerns of his party.
Significantly this coincides with reports that the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will be taking up the construction of the Ram Mandir early next year. If not before. As a BJP state leader who had been part of the Ram mandir movement in UP earlier said, “the issue might not work so long as the temple is not built, but if it is believe me it will have a resonance.”