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Key BJP meeting today, Yogi ministers likely to get poll responsibilities

Yogi Adityanath, who will be away on a tour in the day, is scheduled to return by evening for the meeting for which national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav is expected to fly in from Delhi.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2018 10:38 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
BJP meeting today,Yogi Adityanath,BJP
There is also speculation about a likely expansion of Adityanath’s council of ministers which technically can have 13 more ministers, some of whom are expected to be SC/ST and OBC.(PTI File Photo)

The BJP’s organisational heads on Monday are expected to task ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government with responsibilities for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls at a meeting in the party’s office in Lucknow.

A party member familiar with the development said that each of the 47 ministers government will be asked to take ownership of Lok Sabha constituencies in the state where the BJP expects a very tough fight.

Adityanath, who will be away on a tour in the day, is scheduled to return by evening for the meeting for which national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav is expected to fly in from Delhi. The party’s state general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal and state chief Mahendra Nath Pandey will also attend the meeting.

From November 2, ministers along with local party members are set to launch a three-day exercise to connect with voters across the state as part of the BJP efforts to win the general elections.

On Sunday, Bansal directed the party’s Scheduled Caste cell to plan meetings with influential Dalits at regional levels. Dalits and OBCs are crucial to BJP and the party is expected to continue to focus sharply on these numerically dominant groups.

The BJP is also planning meetings of the party’s big guns with as many as possible of the nearly three crore beneficiaries of various schemes of Modi and Yogi governments. BJP chief Amit Shah, who was in Lucknow for a coordination meeting with the RSS top brass earlier this month, is expected again shortly for addressing ‘cyber warriors’ of the party’s IT cell through whom the party plans to counter ‘propaganda’ online.

There is also speculation about a likely expansion of Adityanath’s council of ministers which technically can have 13 more ministers, some of whom are expected to be SC/ST and OBC.

“The problem is that still there are two views on the topic. There is a school of thought advocating expansion to balance caste groups and regions unrepresented so far. But there are far too many in queue for a ministerial berth and that is where the problem is,” a BJP lawmaker said.

“It’s a Catch-22 situation. Expansion is long overdue. But there is risk of annoying many others as more than 100 lawmakers of the party are hoping for a berth. This includes veterans left out so far, key players whose caste gives them an edge and then there are others who know how to pull their weight around the time the party is getting into election mode,” a BJP leader said.

Irrespective of the expansion, from November onwards the ministers are expected to hit the ground running. “The challenge of doing well against a likely SP-BSP coalition in UP is formidable,” a BJP leader said.

While the RSS and the organisation are not happy with the functioning of few ministers, people familiar with the matter said the party wouldn’t like to create “unpleasantness” ahead of the 2019 LS polls in which Shah wants the party to put a “united show.”

By the year-end, the party is expected to involve Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the pre-election rallies after ministers ensure that the situation in each constituency is studied in detail and share feedback with the party leadership.

First Published: Oct 29, 2018 10:16 IST