45 days, 29 states: Amit Shah on a whirlwind tour to prepare for 2019 elections
The BJP’s top leadership believes that the organisational strength, combined with what they see as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high credibility and popularity, will help the party beat the competition.india Updated: Jul 24, 2018 07:25 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah has completed the first round of preparations for the 2019 elections in 28 of the 29 states over the last 40 days, instructing party organisational units to begin their ground campaign by August 1, said a top party leader familiar with the matter.
With a visit to Himachal Pradesh this weekend, he will complete his nationwide tour for the fourth time since taking charge of the party, the leader added.
“In each state, Shah has met a newly constituted Lok Sabha preparation committee to discuss the political situation. He has met close to 4,000 Vidhan Sabha assembly constituency in-charges across the country. He has met Dalit leaders from the party, and he has interacted with social media team members in each state,” said Anil Baluni, the party’s chief spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP.
When asked what the core message in these gatherings was, the leader cited above said, “The idea is simple: Begin preparing for the 2019 elections; go to the ground; strengthen the organisation and activate all booth units; reach out to constituents. We have to begun in full swing by August 1.”
As reported by Hindustan Times on July 17, party general secretaries are then deputed to follow-up on the visits, and send reports on progress in meeting organisational targets.
The BJP’s top leadership believes that the organisational strength, combined with what they see as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high credibility and popularity, will help the party beat the competition.
Shah has been credited for creating a strong organisational machine since taking over the party in 2014. Key innovations have included expanding the party membership, strengthening booth-level committees, and in states with wide networks, assigning each page of the electoral roll to a party worker with the mandate of mobilising voters.
Explaining the importance of the current round of Shah’s visits, Neelanjan Sircar, senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, said: “The preparation is not anything dramatically different from what you would expect from Amit Shah. But it is an obvious comparative advantage going into 2019. The BJP is using this precious time to strengthen its organisation, while the Opposition is spending this time struggling to put together an alliance, coordinate amongst themselves and build an understanding.”
When asked if organisational strength is important or is overestimated in determining electoral outcomes, Sircar said: “It is worth at least a couple of percentage points of vote share. You have to get your cadre to work; you have to get the voter out; you have to mobilise people. This is what the BJP does well.”
First Published: Jul 24, 2018 07:03 IST