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Five reasons why Amit Shah is hopeful about BJP’s ‘Mission 350’

BJP president Amit Shah has blown the bugle for 2019 Lok Sabha election, setting a target of winning over 350 parliamentary seats.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2017 11:36 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Amit Shah,BJP chief,2019 Lok Sabha elections
BJP president Amit Shah waves to his supporters upon his arrival on a three-day visit to Karnataka as part of his nationwide tour on Saturday. (PTI File Photo)

The BJP has declared its mission for 2019: winning more than 350 out of 543 Lok Sabha seats for Narendra Modi. That is a tall order, but its president Amit Shah believes it is within the realm of possibility.

Shah is currently on a 110-day-long nationwide tour to connect with party’s booth-level workers and set out specific targets for party leaders for the next general election to the Lok Sabha. He met a group of senior BJP leaders on Thursday to give them a pep talk and lay before them a blueprint to achieve the mission. Here are five reasons why Amit Shah is confident of BJP’s return to power in 2019 and with a greater victory.

120 seats: The BJP won 282 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. There are about 120 Lok Sabha seats that the BJP has never won in the past. Shah has appointed ‘mentors’ for these Lok Sabha seats. The target is to nurture them over the next one and a half year and convert them into a BJP bastion. “Even if we can win half of these 120 seats, we will touch 350 figure,” a union minister who attended the Thursday meeting told HT.

Narendra Modi: The prime minister continues to be the BJP’s most popular leader, and Shah is confident there is no dip in Modi’s personal appeal. Several surveys conducted by Shah have shown that Modi’s popularity has increased since 2014 and he continues to be several miles ahead of his nearest rivals. With no clarity about opposition’s prime ministerial candidate, who will take on Modi in 2019, the BJP is confident it will have an advantage in the next election.

Read more:Three years of Modi govt: How the PM has transformed the political landscape, writes Swapan Dasgupta

Pro-poor policies: The BJP is pinning its hopes on several populist schemes, such as free LPG connection for BPL families, to do wonders in the next election. Shah believes it was the effective rollout of these schemes that helped the party win states such as Uttar Pradesh with a three fourths majority. The BJP has managed to shed its pro-rich and pro-corporate image, something which even prompted Congress’ Rahul Gandhi to take ‘suit boot ki Sarkar’ jibe at Modi in the past.

Congress : The Congress continues to be the main rivals of the BJP, nationally. Shah has told BJP leaders that any anti-Modi formulation will not survive without the support of the grand old party. But it is feeding grounds to the BJP. The Congress has lost a series of election, Punjab being an exception, and there is no immediate relief in the sight. The BJP is confident of winning Himachal Pradesh later this year and Karnataka next year. Both are currently ruled by the Congress. With Congress weakening in the states, Shah is hopeful it will not be able to survive BJP onslaught in the next election.

Read more: Congress needs a new slogan and India needs a new opposition, writes Barkha Dutt

New areas: Shah is excited with the response BJP is getting in states such as Odisha, West Bengal, Kerala and the northeast. The BJP has its government is Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and six Trinamool Congress MLAs have merged with BJP in Tripura. It has won an assembly seat for the first time in Kerala and done well in the panchayat election in Odisha, replacing Congress as the principal opposition to ruling Biju Janta Dal. Odisha and Bengal alone account for 63 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP expects to increase its tally in these states.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 11:36 IST