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Friday, Aug 16, 2019

With eye on 2019 elections, Amit Shah on a 110-day tour to win for BJP and Modi

Shah is hoping to capitalise on PM Narendra Modi’s popularity and repute to push for a greater electoral mandate for the BJP than 2014’s general elections.

india Updated: May 12, 2017 00:09 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP national president Amit Shah addressing a public meeting in Tripura’s Kumarghat on May 7, 2017.
BJP national president Amit Shah addressing a public meeting in Tripura’s Kumarghat on May 7, 2017.(PTI Photo)

Amit Shah is on a roll. High on a three-fourths majority win in Uttar Pradesh in March, the BJP president is on a 110-day, country-wide tour – even though the next general election is two years away. His goal is to gain acceptance for BJP ideology and build a stronger ‘Brand Narendra Modi’ that helps party win new states and remain unconquerable at the centre.

Modi remains BJP’s most popular leader and completes three years in power on May. Shah’s strategy is to capitalize on Prime Minister’s popularity and clean reputation to win the next election with a mandate greater than 2014.

Shah will spend 95 days till September in the northeastern and coastal state, where the party’s strength is low and 15 days to meet voters at booth level. The 95-day reach out drive began from Jammu on April 29. Shah then flew to Tripura and Himachal Pradesh. Dates for his trip to Tamil Nadu and Kerala are being worked out.

Under the 15-day programme, named Deen Dayal Upadhyay Vistarak Yojna, Shah spent two days in West Bengal and is headed to Lakshadweep and Telangana next. This leg of Yatra will also cover Odisha and Gujarat.

“Compare Shah’s strategy with that of Congress’ Rahul Gandhi,” a BJP leader told HT. “Despite big victories, Shah is touring. Rahul is missing in action despite a series of loss.” The BJP chief was at Somnath in Gujarat, the very next day after campaigning ended for Uttar Pradesh in March.

Shah’s tour will try to increase BJP’s footprints in the northeast and coastal areas, which covers most of those 120 seats that it has never won. The scale of BJP’s victory in 2019 will also depends on how it performs in these pockets.

“He wants greater acceptability for BJP’s ideology,” the BJP leader said. “Greater acceptability for our ideology will certainly result into electoral success.” The BJP is particularly excited with the scale of mandate it got in Uttar Pradesh where it ‘boldly’ put out its commitment on issues like welfare of poor, triple talaq, cow slaughter and many more.

The BJP won 282 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election with just 31% votes. BJP sources claim expansion of the party in 120 Lok Sabha seats and in new areas will help it reach closer to the 50% vote share mark – a target that BJP leaders admit to have set for themselves in 2019.

First Published: May 12, 2017 00:08 IST

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