Delhi: Shah drops poll hint, asks BJP to be Feb-ready

  • Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 19, 2014 08:38 IST

BJP chief Amit Shah Tuesday asked party workers to complete all the ground work for Delhi elections by first week of February, in the strongest indication yet that the Capital could go to the polls early next year.

At a review meeting with party workers, Shah set up a 132-member team to oversee preparations and also laid down the strategy for the Delhi elections that are expected to set the tone for the next round of state polls.

“We have been asked to complete all work by February first week and everyone has to be in the city between February 5 and 15, as elections are likely to be held then,” a BJP leader told HT.

Shah asked the team to launch a “carpet-bombing” campaign to ensure a comfortable majority for the party. “These elections will not be fought on an individual level. We will focus entirely on the party and Brand Modi,” a source quoted him as saying.

No party got the majority in the 70-member House when Delhi went to the polls in 2013. The Capital was put under the President’s Rule after Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government, backed by the Congress, resigned on February 14 barely 49 days into power. The President on November 4 ordered dissolution of the House, paving the way for fresh elections dates for which are yet to be announced.

All the ministers and party MPs, in Delhi for Parliament’s winter session that begins November 24 will pitch in and hold meetings.

To reach out to the last voter, MPs and MLAs, apart from party workers, will be assigned polling stations to ensure accountability.

“We have been asked to prepare a roadmap for the next two months and each person has been asked to devote at least 10 hours daily to party work,” a senior BJP leader said.

Shah signaled that the state unit could admit leaders from other parties but only after due diligence, sources said. No one, however, should be admitted on the promise of a poll ticket, he said.

Union health minister JP Nadda, who enjoys Shah’s confidence and is known for his organisational skills, and human resource development minister Smriti Irani have been asked to aggressively launch the Swachch Bharat campaign in hospitals and schools. The state unit has been asked to highlight the effort and step up the membership drive to connect with people.

“This election is very important for the party… These elections will have a crucial impact on the elections that will be held in 2015 including Bihar,” Shah told party workers.

He also asked them to highlight the achievements of the Modi government. “Do not get bogged down by criticism. The Prime Minister’s popularity is increasing by the day. We are at an advantageous position,” a party leader quoted him as saying.

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