The BJP on Wednesday set the stage for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s grand re-entry into Uttar Pradesh electoral politics, planning to have him attend the party’s state working committee meet scheduled for September in Mathura.
The plans were made official at a meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party office bearers in Lucknow.
Modi, anointed the BJP’s campaign committee chief for the 2014 elections, had last campaigned in UP for the 2009 general elections.
He stayed away during the 2012 assembly elections, ostensibly after the party made his bitter rival Sanjay Joshi a key figure in the team planning the UP campaign.
Modi, widely perceived to be the BJP’s prime ministerial face for Lok Sabha elections due next year, is expected to flag off the UP leg of his “Congress-mukt Bharat” campaign by having a darshan of Lord Krishna in Mathura.
BJP president Rajnath Singh, who played a key role in Modi’s elevation as campaign committee chairman in June, would also attend the Mathura meet, during which the party is expected to fine tune the plan to arrest the slide of its political fortunes in the state.
UP has 80 Lok Sabha seats, the highest among all states. From a high of 57 LS seats in 1998, feeding off the Ram temple movement, the BJP is now down to 10. In the assembly elections too, the BJP has slid from the peak of 221 seats in 1991 to 47 now.
UP holds the key to political configurations at the Centre.
BJP’s co-UP in-charge Rameshwar Chaurasia who attended the office bearers’ meet said work was on to keep cadre in battle-ready mode.
“That’s important as the Congress-led UPA II government at the Centre is all set to concede national political space to the Modi-inspired BJP,” Chaurasia said.
Modi’s visit could coincide with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s 84 kosi parikrama in Ayodhya that is set to begin from August 25 and continue till September 13.