Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi announcing assembly poll schedule for five states - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab and Goa, in New Delhi. Agency photo
The BJP’s complete dependence on Uttarakhand chief minister BC Khanduri’s clean image to retain power in the assembly elections has resulted in a new slogan that will form the running theme of its publicity blitz.
“Khanduri hai zaroori” (Khanduri is necessary) for Uttarakhand to prosper and develop goes the BJP’s slogan, highlighting the achievements of the saffron party’s rule of the past five years in different sectors.
Khanduri, 78, who made his mark as the NDA’s surface transport minister with the launch of a quadrilateral project to widen national highways across the country, quickly ensured the unanimous passage of the citizens’ charter, lokayukta and a transparent transfer policy for government employees. These were meant to be game-changers. Team Anna even hailed his bill as being closest to “Jan Lokpal Bill”.
As the Congress mounted a new offensive that the BJP would dump Khanduri once the polls were over, Rajnath Singh, who is in charge of the election campaign, had to declare he would continue in the post if the party returned to power. “Khanduri will remain chief minister if we form the government,” Singh announced in Dehradun.
Singh’s endorsement of Khanduri, a Brahmin, was seen as a setback for the BJP’s Rajput lobby, which is still hoping that Bhagat Singh Koshiyari will one day make it to the post again.
Asked about the new slogan, Nirmala Sitharaman, who is handling the BJP’s media strategy, said, “We are on a positive campaign and want to engage the people in a meaningful way on what's been done so far and what will be done in the next five years with a renewed mandate in this hill state with an international border.”