iconimg Wednesday, July 01, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 05, 2014
The BJP will fall back on its most trusted face – Prime Minister Narendra Modi – to win the assembly election in four states. Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir will go to poll soon and the party has decided not to project a face in these states. Party’s headquarters here is flooded with request from election-bound states for a Modi-centric campaign in their territory to blunt the opposition’s criticism about BJP’s failure to pick up its leader.

Factionalism and lack of a leader having pan-state acceptance in these four are the two driving reasons behind party’s decisions not to project a face. There are too many claimants in Haryana – none of them is a mass leader – while the party does not want to antagonise the tribal– nearly 23 % of state’s population – by projecting a non-tribal as its pre-poll face. BJP’s lost in Gopinath Munde its potential CM candidate for Maharashtra while there is a lack of a leader with state wide appeal in J&K

 “Haryana leaders who met election in-charge Kailash Vijayavargiya, a minister in Madhya Pradesh, here on Thursday suggested that Modi centric campaign should be launched. Jharkhand leaders too want Modi to extensively tour the tribal state during the poll. Modi’s charisma is still at work,” a senior BJP leader told HT. The BJP is going alone in these two states, currently ruled by the Congress or an alliance of which it is a part.

BJP chief Amit Shah has flagged off party’s Sankalp Yatra from Mahendragarh in Haryana on August 14 and will address a wormers’ rally in Ranchi on September 8.

Even in Maharashtra, where the BJP has a tie-up with Shiv Sena, the two have decided to keep the CM candidate issue on the backburner for a while. BJP’s CM aspirant Gopinath Munde is no more and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray – who was initially projected as the CM candidate by his party – isn’t insisting on his projection.  

“The leadership issue is not coming up before polls. We want to first complete the seat sharing talks,” another BJP leader involved with Maharashtra affairs said. Maharashtra has 288 assembly seats which the BJP and the Shiv Sena share in 119:169 ratio. Shah visited Mumbai on Thursday and even had a meeting with Thackeray at his residence.  

BJP’s real challenge is in Jammu and Kashmir where it has a base in Jammu region (37 seats) and Laddkah (4 seats), but is yet to leave footprints in the valley (46 seats).