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BJP Prepping Early For 2019 Elections With A Week-Long Nationwide Outreach

Party ministers and MPs will fan out across India to gauge people’s mood.

04/04/2017 9:12 AM IST | Updated 04/04/2017 10:12 AM IST
Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters
Supporters of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wave their party's flags as they wait for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address an election campaign rally in Kolkata, India, April 17, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often been described as a party that is constantly in "election mode". In keeping with the description, the party is all set to launch a massive outreach programme for 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Ministers and Members of Parliament will be out among the people to gauge their sentiment and their feedback will be used to come up with possible political planks and pitches for the 2019 elections.

According to sources, starting on 6 April, the party's foundation day, BJP MPs in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha will be spending at least one day and night at a parliamentary constituency that the BJP lost in 2014, as part of a week-long programme.

Ministers and Members of Parliament to sense the mood of the people. These will be used to come up with possible political planks and pitches for 2019 elections.

In 2014, the BJP won 282 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats, becoming the first ever non-Congress party to win a parliamentary majority on its own.

The programme will conclude on 14 April, the birthday of BR Ambedkar. As part of the push to become more acceptable and appealing to the vast constituency of Dalits, Schedule Tribes, and the so-called Backwards, the Modi led BJP has aggressively laid claim to Ambedkar's legacy. His birthday was declared a public holiday in 2015 by the Modi government.

The BJP wants to be more acceptable and appealing to the vast constituency of Scheduled Caste, Schedule Tribes, backwards and Dalits.

During the week-long exercise, MP's will meet with local party-workers and interact with prominent individuals of the constituency they will be visiting. "Focusing on seats with other political parties will give us a clear picture of why people are unhappy with us and what they want," a senior BJP leader said.

They will also aggressively advertise the developmental schemes of the government

They will also aggressively promote government developmental schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana that provides subsidised LPG connections to Below Poverty Line (BPL) households, and the 'Make in India' programme to rejuvenate the country's manufacturing sector.

The MPs have been asked to focus on booth level workers and the ground-level feedback will be used to schedule rallies that will be addressed by the prime minister at a later point in time.

According to sources in the BJP, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Textile Minister Smriti Irani, among other MPs, will be in West Bengal during the week-long exercise. The BJP is eyeing the state keenly as it feels that it has a fair chance in West Bengal which has seen two consecutive Trinamool Congress governments led by Mamata Banerjee. The party will also focus on Bihar, where it lost the 2015 Assembly elections to the Janata Dal (United), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress alliance.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani among other MPs will be in West Bengal – state which the BJP is eyeing keenly.

Union Finance & Defence Minister Arun Jaitley will go to Bengaluru, whereas BJP President Amit Shah will camp at the Nizamabad parliamentary constituency in Telangana. The BJP lost this seat to Telangana Rashtra Samithi in 2014.

The outreach exercise, however, will not extend to seats that are with BJP allies such as the Shriomani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.

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