BJP president Amit Shah asks lieutenants to report on poll prospects in Rajasthan
Six trusted lieutenants of BJP national president Amit Shah will travel across Rajasthan and interact with party workers and leaders to give a ground report to him on the electoral prospects, party leaders said.
The six leaders with an RSS background have been chosen in keeping with the party’s social engineering formula. The state has been divided into three regions – Jaipur, Jodhpur and Chittorgarh -- and three teams of two persons each will cover them between October 10 and 18.
Party leaders said Shah is keeping a close watch on Rajasthan, where the BJP is facing a tough challenge to retain power. “Shah is not willing to take chances and is working parallel to the state organisation to assess the ground situation and take corrective measures,” a leader said on condition of anonymity.
The Jaipur region will cover districts of eastern and northern Rajasthan up to Bikaner. The region has a dominance of Scheduled Castes and union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, an SC, has been given charge of this region along with state party in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna.
The Chittorgarh region will cover south Rajasthan areas of Mewar, Hadoti and Vagad. In view of the Rajput dominance in the region, union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, a Rajput, and state general secretary (organisation) Chandrashekhar have been given charge of Chittorgarh.
The Marwar region covering the Jat-dominated western Rajasthan has been given to Jat leader Satish Poonia and party joint general secretary (organisation) V Satish.
BJP spokesperson Mukesh Pareek said Shekhawat is convenor of the election management committee while Poonia and Meghwal are co-convenors, so Shah has appointed them to strengthen the organisation. They will tour the state and talk to office-bearers, workers, booth in-charges, take feedback and give directions for corrective action where required.
Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma said Shah was trying to do damage control as the feedback that he has got so far is that the party’s situation and government’s perception among people is very poor. “Shah is working parallelly to get independent feedback and do some last-minute work to try and fix the situation,” she said.
The teams appointed by Shah will report on the caste equation in each assembly constituency, ties with the RSS, the party’s position in each constituency, seats where the Congress is strong and how the BJP can win them, feedback on the government and ministers, popularity of leaders, and who should be denied tickets.
They will also reach out to communities that are upset with the government for various reasons. Jats are unhappy over lack of representation in government and failure of the government to help farmers, a majority of whom are Jats. Rajputs are angry over the slight to senior leader Jaswant Singh, Anandpal Singh encounter, Chatur Singh encounter and the Padmaavat issue; the SCs are miffed with the dilution of the SC/ST Act.
The BJP lost all three by-polls held in January to the Congress. In the 2013 assembly elections, the BJP won 163 seats, reducing the Congress to 21 seats. In the 2008 polls, the Congress won 96 seats and the BJP got 78.