BJP plans ways to counter ‘UP ke ladke’
BJP’s strategy to take on the SP-Cong alliance. Rake up foreign origin issue and flay the Gandhi-Yadav joint road show. Attempt to shield themselves from apprehensions about Modi’s parent state.Updated: Jan 30, 2017 11:34 IST
After the joint road show featuring Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and the Samajwadi Party chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party strategists got busy planning ways to counter “UP ke ladke”.
The ‘UP ke ladke’ slogan has been chosen as the alliance theme ostensibly to target PM Narendra Modi who hails from Gujarat but is now an MP from Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP is aware that the Congress could play up the ‘bahari’ (outsider) theme against Modi. In Bihar polls too the grand alliance against BJP of which Congress was a part had played up the ‘Bihari vs bahari’ theme to target Modi.
But ahead of the 2017 UP polls, the BJP is ready to counter the plan through its firebrand leaders. “At least we don’t have people with foreign origin in our party,” says party MP Vinay Katiyar who had earlier courted controversy by his comments on Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Though Katiyar doesn’t figure among BJP’s star campaigners, the BJP could use the vocal MP to target the Gandhis. Same with Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, who figures among 40 star campaigners identified by the party.
The party bears the campaign cost of star campaigners but in case of campaigners are not in the star list the cost is borne by the candidate who invites them.
The BJP on Sunday also shot off two posers to the alliance partners: “Who was the senior leader in the alliance – Gandhi scion or the SP chief, and if the Congress had shelved its ‘27 saal, UP behaal’ slogan?
“At the end of the day everyone was left confused as to who was the senior leader among the two,” UP BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya said.
The Congress contesting elections in 105 of the 403 seats is a junior partner of the alliance in a state where it once dominated political discourse until being voted out 27 years ago.
The Congress had initially decided on the slogan ‘27 saal, UP behaal’ (UP in disarray for 27 years) for the 2017 UP polls. Along with the BJP, the SP and the BSP have ruled the state most after 1989 and the Congress slogan was initially aimed at targeting these three parties, one of whom it has now decided to partner. The alliance forced a slogan change: ‘UP ko yeh saaath pasand hai (UP likes the alliance)’.
“Would the Congress still use the 27-saal slogan?” asked Maurya, who even went on to suggest if a BJP government came to power, it could send those responsible for ‘Hindu exodus’ to jail.
BJP manifesto mentions a task force and a separate police department to check Hindu exodus from west UP that goes to polls in the first phase on February 11.
“The task force would end up nabbing them only,” Yadav had said hinting at a BJP hand in raising the Hindu exodus issue.