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2019 Lok Sabha elections: PM to meet CMs, deputy CMs today to take stock of welfare schemes

The BJP has started preparing early for the national election and hopes to repeat its 2014 performance (when it won 282 seats) in most of the states.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2018 12:55 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Lok Sabha elections,LS polls 2019,PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will complete four years in power in May, and faces the general election to the Lok Sabha next year.(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have invited chief ministers of states ruled by the saffron party to the capital on Wednesday to discuss, among other things, the possibility of holding simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

The two leaders will also take stock of the welfare measures that BJP governments have taken and if they achieved targets in execution of central programmes such as crop insurance schemes, loans for young entrepreneurs, increasing digital transactions, and building affordable housing.

Modi will complete four years in power in May, and face general election to the Lok Sabha next year. In recent months, his government has come in for criticism over its inability to create jobs, falling farm income, and, in Union Budget 2018, increasing the tax outgo for the middle class.

The party has started preparing early for the national election and hopes to repeat its 2014 performance (when it won 282 seats) in most of the states. The BJP today rules 14 states on its own and five more with its allies. The deputy chief minister or senior ministers will represent alliance governments at tomorrow’s meeting.

Prime Minister Modi’s 2019 bid will depend on how the BJP performs in these states, most of which it has won after the dream run of 2014. Here is a look at how the chief ministers of BJP ruled states — crucial to Modi’s 2019 plan — are placed at the moment.

Modi, Shah set to take stock with 14 BJP CMs
Yogi Adityanath, UTTAR PRADESH
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 80; BJP won: 71
STRENGTH: The head priest of Gorakhnath temple who was surprisingly made the CM after the party swept the state last year has emerged as one of the lead campaigners for the BJP. He is one of the youngest chief ministers UP has seen and enjoys the backing of the RSS.
CHALLENGES: He has drawn criticism for police encounters in Uttar Pradesh. Coming from an upper caste background, he has to retain BJP’s hold over the backward communities who voted for the party in 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 state polls.
Vijay Rupani, GUJARAT
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 26; BJP won: 26
STRENGTH: Rupani’s biggest strength is that Gujarat is the home state of Modi and Shah, and the BJP won it for the fifth time in a row last December. BJP has a strong base in the state and Rupani, widely recognised as a man who manages by Total Lok consensus, enjoys Shah’s support.
CHALLENGES: Rupani will have to find a solution to farm unrest, tackle the Patidars, and deal with Dalits’ issues. He also has his task cut out while dealing with colleagues such as deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, who wants a greater say in the governance.
Vasundhara Raje, RAJASTHAN
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 25; BJP won: 25
STRENGTH: She is the BJP’s only mass leader in the desert state and the party’s only woman chief minister. Raje is seen as a caste-neutral leader and a taskmaster.
CHALLENGES: She faces strong anti-incumbency and has just lost by-elections to two Lok Sabha seats and one assembly seat. She has a troubled relationship with the party’s national leadership, leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and local BJP leaders.
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 2; BJP won: 1
STRENGTH: At 38, he is India’s youngest chief minister. He is credited with bringing fiscal prudence in governance, introducing IT-based transactions in different government departments, and launching a series of welfare schemes.
CHALLENGES: Khandu, and 32 more MLAs, broke ranks from the Congress to first move to the People’s Party of Arunchal and then to the BJP. He now faces the task of keeping the flock together.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, MADHYA PRADESH
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 29; BJP won: 27
STRENGTH: He has a grip over the government and the BJP’s local unit. Chouhan comes from an OBC community, and has managed to build a rapport with other communities, too.
CHALLENGES: Chouhan is confronted with an aggressive Congress, which is showing signs of unity. He has been chief minister for over 12 years now, and has to deal with anti-incumbency. Farm distress is growing and his government is embroiled in the VYAPAM controversy.
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 11; BJP won: 10
STRENGTH: The BJP’s longest-serving chief minister has dealt competently with Maoists, and managed to break Congress’ control over Scheduled Tribe dominated areas; his welfare schemes are a hit.
CHALLENGES: Some of his ministers face corruption allegations. He could be facing anti-incumbency after an uninterrupted stint of over 14 years as chief minister. The difference between the BJP and the Congress’ vote share in the state is marginal.
Raghubar Das, JHARKHAND
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 14; BJP won: 12
STRENGTH: The first non-tribal to become chief minister of Jharkhand, Das has a clean reputation. He has the confidence of PM Modi and Shah, and has managed to bring investment to the state, besides launching a series of welfare schemes aimed at the poor and tribal population.
CHALLENGES: Tribal leaders of the BJP are at loggerheads with him. The new domicile policy, a tricky issue for the state, could mean trouble before the next Lok Sabha elections.
Devendra Fadnavis, MAHARASHTRA
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 48; BJP won: 23
STRENGTH: At 47, he is one of the youngest CMs of Maharashtra. He is also seen as the blue-eyed boy of the RSS. Fadnavis enjoys a clean reputation and has managed to stay away from controversies. The BJP has managed to increase its footprint in municipal bodies across the state, despite a break up with the Shiv Sena.
CHALLENGES: Established leaders of Maharashtra BJP not happy with his style of functioning. The Shiv Sena, too, is upset and there are signs that rivals Congress and NCP may come together for the next general election.
Manohar Parrikar, GOA
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 2; BJP won: 2
STRENGTH: A former IIT-ian, Parrikar enjoys the support of the RSS and is also acceptable to the Christians of Goa He has the reputation of being a no-nonsense politician and he helps the BJP to keep the allies together.
CHALLENGES: With several Hindu outfits and RSS breakaway factions raking controversial issues, Parrikar has to strike a balance between them and the church. Uncertainty over his health has also clouded the state’s political stage.
Trivendra Singh Rawat, UTTARAKHAND
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 5; BJP won: 5
STRENGTH: He comes from an RSS background and has worked in different parts of Uttrakhand as a Sangh pracharak (volunteer). Rawat is a Thakur from the state’s single largest community, and isn’t considered part of any faction of the BJP in the state. He, too, enjoys a clean reputation and the backing of PM Modi and Shah.
CHALLENGES: A first time CM, Rawat has to deal with factionalism in the state unit and loyalists of four former CMs. Sitting legislators and a couple of ministers have openly voiced reservations against him. The Congress, too, is regrouping in the state.
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 4; BJP won: 4
STRENGTH: One of the senior most MLAs of the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, Thakur has won five election in a row. He has the reputation of being an organisational man, and enjoys a good rapport with the RSS in the hill state.
CHALLENGES: Managing the fiscal position of the state, creating employment and keeping party veterans happy are his big tasks. The role of his close aides in key appointments and governance issues has been raised.
Manohar Lal Khattar, HARYANA
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 10; BJP won: 7
STRENGTH: A former RSS leader known for his proximity to PM Modi, Khattar is a non-Jat who has helped consolidate other communities against Haryana’s largest community, which is wooed by both the INLD and the Congress. There are almost no allegations of financial irregularities against him.
CHALLENGES: Violence during the Jat agitation and the arrest of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh exposed his political vulnerabilities. Khattar’s reputation as an administrator has also taken a hit.
Sarbananda Sonowal, ASSAM
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 4; BJP won: 4
STRENGTH: The 55-year-old former student activist is seen as one of the young faces of the state. His strong stand against illegal immigration from Bangladesh has helped the BJP win support from Hindus of Assam, who comprise about 62% of the state’s population.
CHALLENGES: Despite managing to secure a pledge of investment worth Rs 70,000 crore during an investors’ summit this month, Sonowal has not been able to create jobs. And the problems in updating the National Register of Citizens are not over yet.
N Biren Singh, MANIPUR
Total Lok Sabha Seats: 2; BJP won: 0
STRENGTH: A former Congressman, Singh is a veteran politician who formed the government despite falling short of a majority. He is supported by the BJP’s northeast pointsmen — Ram Madhav and Himanta Biswa Sarma.
CHALLENGES: Employment generation, increasing revenue of the state and dealing with economic blockades are the main challenges. He will have to safeguard Manipur’s interest in the Naga Peace Accord that is in the works.

First Published: Feb 28, 2018 07:14 IST