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BJP to look for winning poll strategy

The BJP begins its three-day national executive meet in Bangalore to discuss a winning strategy for the next Lok Sabha polls the first in India's IT hub after the party came to power in Karnataka in May.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2008, 20:31 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) begins its three-day national executive meet in Bangalore Friday to discuss a winning strategy for the next Lok Sabha polls - the first in India's IT hub after the party came to power in Karnataka in May.

The party is hoping that its campaign against the India-US nuclear deal in the present from will take the sheen off any Congress plan to highlight it as a major achievement following the NSG waiver.

"We are confident that our position will be appreciated by the voters as the waiver has come at the cost of national sovereignty," a senior BJP leader said, requesting anonymity as he is not the official spokesperson of the party.

"We expect the Congress to flaunt the waiver and the US keenness to get the deal through before the end of this month as a huge gain for India. Our campaign will expose how the Manmohan Singh government has surrendered national interest for a shallow victory," the BJP leader said.

"We do not agree with the view that the urban middle class will share the euphoria of the Congress camp over the NSG waiver. Our campaign will convince these voters."

Political analysts, however, believe that the BJP's opposition to the deal will be futile.

"People will see the BJP opposition to the deal as double standards, as the party takes credit for Pokhran II and initiating dialogue with the US (for better relations)," said Ravivarma Kumar, constitutional expert and leading political commentator.

"At the same time, I do not think the Congress will really get any mileage out of the nuclear deal. For, people are not really concerned from where they get the energy. They are more concerned with roti, kapada, makan (bread, cloth and shelter)," he said.

Around 260 delegates will attend the meet at Chancery Pavilion hotel on Residency Road, one of the busiest avenues in the central business district of India's IT hub.

The three-day national executive meeting will look for issues that would find resonance with voters in the face of a triumphal Congress that is seeking to highlight its policy successes over the India-US nuclear deal.

Inflation is finally showing signs of easing though prices of essential commodities remain high. This downward trend may also force the BJP to re-formulate its views on the UPA government's handling of the economy.

The Amarnath shrine land row too has been resolved, taking away what would have been a potentially highly emotive subject for the BJP to take on the UPA at the Lok Sabha polls.

With Karnataka in its kitty, the BJP now rules on its own in seven states. The other BJP-ruled states are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It shares power in three major states - Punjab, Bihar and Orissa.

The meet comes ahead of the assembly elections in several states in north India followed by the Lok Sabha polls, due early next year.

The party has already begun a series of meetings in Delhi to finalise candidates for the Lok Sabha polls to benefit from early mover advantage.

"We will discuss the political, economic and social situation in the country apart from the preparation for the Lok Sabha elections," state BJP spokesperson and former Lok Sabha member Dhananjaya Kumar told IANS.

"The agenda, however, will be fixed by the central leadership," he added.

The Karnataka unit of the BJP has set up 24 committees to ensure that everything goes well, Kumar said.

A media centre is being set up at Woodlands Hotel, less than a kilometre from the national executive venue.

The executive has a tough task on hand in reformulating the party's stand on the nuclear deal, now that the Congress appears to be gung-ho over it after the NSG waiver.

The BJP's last executive meeting was held in New Delhi in June when the Left was still supporting the Manmohan Singh government. At that time the executive passed a resolution stating that the nuclear deal in its present from was unacceptable and must be renegotiated.

The main speakers at the executive will be party president Rajnath Singh, prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The executive will be keen to hear from the party's first chief minister in south, B.S. Yeddyurappa of Karnataka, on the party's prospects in the state in the Lok Sabha polls.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won 18 of the 28 seats, its highest so far. However, its strength is reduced to 16 as S. Bangarappa quit the BJP to join the Samajwadi Party. He retained the Shimoga Lok Sabha seat as SP candidate. The BJP lost another seat to Congress in a byelection caused by the death of its member.

Yeddyurappa, who completed 100 days in office Tuesday, had said earlier that he and the state unit will work to take the tally to more than 20 as their dream is to see LK Advani as India's next prime minister.

On Sep 13, the second day of the meet, Advani is scheduled to address a public rally in Bangalore.

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