BJP changes strategy to woo voters in MP
The BJP will utilise all its star campaigners in MP in a bid to wrest the initiative from the Congress, reports Prakash Pillai.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to utilise all its star campaigners during the last leg of campaign for the Lok Sabha election in Madhya Pradesh in a bid to wrest the initiative from the Congress. Worried by the early peaking off of the India Shining campaign and exit and opinion polls that predict an improved performance by Congress and allies, the BJP has been forced to undertake a last minute correction in its campaign strategy.
After the resounding victory in the November 2003 Assembly elections, the BJP had taken things lightly in MP and kept senior leaders away from the initial phase of campaigning hoping to repeat the performance. However, resurgence of Congress and allies and slide in BJP led NDA fortunes, as predicted by the pollsters after the three rounds of polling is giving nightmares to the BJP leaders in MP. Amidst reports of discouraging trends in about a dozen Lok Sabha seats the BJP state executive convened a meeting of all senior leaders and ministers at the BJP office to take stock of campaign in the state the other day.
Besides, anti-incumbency the BJP also has to overcome infighting within its ranks. This was evident with complaints from most candidates who have complained about lack of cooperation by the state ministers and in their respective constituencies. This has led the BJP chief Venkaiah Naidu and state BJP president Kailash Joshi to warn the ministers to ensure that the party's victory margin achieved during the assembly elections is maintained in the state. The BJP has asked the leaders to mobilise the party workers at the grass-root level as during the assembly polls and drawn a strategy to counter the caste factor in the different constituencies.
The party to win the confidence of the people have decided to use Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and all its star campaigners in a last minute effort to storm the constituencies in the state.
Later dismissing the exit poll results party chief Venkaiak Naidu said that NDA would form the next Government at the Centre. State BJP chief Kailash Joshi ruled out sabotage and dissatisfaction among party workers in the state party unit. He said that the party was confident to achieve desired results in its 'Mission 29'.
BJP leader and Union Minister Prahlad Patel is locked in a keen contest in Chhindwara contituency against Congress's Kamalnath. For BJP Chhindwara seat has become a matter of prestige as Kamalnath has been winning the seat from 1980 with the exception of 1996, when his wife won on Congress ticket and in 1998 when he lost to BJP veteran Sunderlal Patwa.
Another Union Minister Satya Narayan Jatia is finding it extremely tough in Ujjain. Jatia, who has represented the Ujjain LS seat for six times is facing a strong anti-incumbency wave this time. Similary, tough fight is on in Khajuraho, Satna, Gwalior, Sidhi and Jhabua seats.
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