BJP national executive meet today; UP elections on the agenda

  • K Sandeep Kumar, Hindustan Times, Allahabad
  • Updated: Jun 12, 2016 12:20 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and other BJP ministers will meet in Allahabad on June 12-13 to discuss optimising the party’s presence in Uttar Pradesh which goes to polls early next year. UP is electorally significant as it has the highest number of seats in the Lok Sabha. (Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times)

The BJP’s national executive will begin its two-day meeting on Sunday to fine-tune the party’s strategy for the next round of assembly elections in five states next year, including the high-stakes Uttar Pradesh, and extol the Narendra Modi-led central government’s achievements in the last two years.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Modi and party president Amit Shah will together inaugurate the meeting of executives, which is expected to adopt three resolutions related to political and the economic issues.

Read | Corruption and ‘gundaraj’ to be core issues in UP polls, says defence minister Parrikar

Senior members of the Union Cabinet, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and members of Parliament are also expected to take part in the meet.

The inaugural, which Amit Shah will address, will be preceded by the inauguration of the National Office Bearers’ meeting at 10am. Here the agenda for the national executive meeting will be finalised.

Modi will address the concluding session of the meeting, followed by a public rally at the Parade Ground, on Monday.

“The aim (of the meeting) will be to come up with a strategy for each of the five states going to polls,” said party national general secretary, Bhupender Yadav.

Calling the BJP the party of choice for the people right now, he said this was evident from the results of the latest polls in different states.

In the assembly polls that concluded last month, the BJP won four seats in West Bengal, its best performance yet in the state, and won one seat in Kerala, where its vote share increased. More significantly, it is forming the government in Assam for the first time ever.

“Taking the party forward will form an important part of the deliberations,” he added.

Read | UP elections: Beleaguered BJP pushes its way into poll arena

Party foot soldiers in the state are excited as this is the first time the BJP has chosen Allahabad for holding its national executive.

BJP workers in the city have been going through the streets, carrying party flags and posters and playing the song ‘Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai’, the anthem released by the Modi government on its second anniversary at the centre.

There were some posters that called for MP Varun Gandhi being declared as the party’s chief ministerial candidate. However, party spokesman Shrikant Sharma said such decisions are made at the Parliamentary Board meeting and not the executive meeting.

Read | Huge Varun Gandhi posters in Allahabad indicate infighting in BJP’s UP unit

Also on display were posters of ‘Mission 265 Plus’ – a term coined by Shah who repeatedly exhorted workers to aim at achieving a thumping majority for the party in the 403-strong UP assembly.

Shah, at a recent rally on the outskirts of the city, had stated “if there is one state which is responsible for helping the BJP get a majority in Parliament, it is UP”.

Party vice-president and in-charge for the state Om Mathur also re-iterated that the national executive would largely focus on the UP assembly polls due next year.

The BJP at present has less than 50 MLAs in the lower house, a massive decline since the 1990s when it used to be the top political group in the state.

“Allahabad has been the state’s political epicentre and the place where stalwarts ranging from Jawaharlal Nehru to VP Singh have learnt their ropes. And a party meeting organised here will certainly have a catalytic effect on our efforts to bring about political change in Uttar Pradesh,” said BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh, who has been camping in the city since Thursday.

Party spokesman Sharma said the executive meeting would also discuss the ‘goonda raj’ issue.

“The BJP is committed to rid the state of SP and BSP, both of which have ruled the state alternately for more than a decade and brought it to ruins… (Goonda raj) had its worst manifestation in the recent violence at Mathura where land-grabbers enjoying political patronage killed two valiant police officials,” Sharma said.

Read | In Uttar Pradesh’s land grab cases, BJP smells a political opportunity

Security tightened across Allahabad

The elite Special Protection Group (SPG), responsible for the Prime Minister’s security, has been in the city since Thursday and has been busy reviewing security arrangements at the Kayastha Pathshala sports ground where the meeting will be held under a gigantic air-conditioned marquee, and the Parade Ground near the holy Sangam where a public rally will be held on Monday.

The SPG is also reviewing the security arrangements at the Circuit House, where Modi is likely to spend the intervening night of June 12-13.

Uttar Pradesh Police have also drawn personnel from more than 20 districts of the state to beef up the force.

Bomb disposal squads and sniffer dogs have been pressed into service while a total of 150 vehicles – including cars, jeeps and SUVs – have been booked for the movement of the VIPs.

(With inputs from PTI)

Read more | Ahead of UP assembly elections, Bisada becomes political battleground

Read more | Opposition parties plan protest ahead of BJP national executive meet

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