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2019 elections: BJP plans drive to win Lok Sabha seats it lost in 2014

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-04-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Over 120 Lok Sabha constituencies, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had lost in the last polls but sees as winnable in the next, will be at the centre of its eight-day drive between 6-14 April with a host of senior party leaders scheduled to visit these areas.

Party president Amit Shah will be in Hyderabad and senior ministers like Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari in Kolkata South, Bengaluru (Rural) and Nazimabad respectively during this period and hold a number of public events.

Most of the Union ministers will be visiting states and constituencies which the party’s top brass has identified as winnable and party MPs will also visit one seat each where it had lost as part of its efforts to boost its chances there in 2019.

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The move underlines the BJP’s aggressive attempts to win over new territories. Its decision to hold its two-day National Executive in Odisha for the first time in 20 years is also being seen as a move in this direction after it put up an impressive show in the recent local body polls there.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had identified a long to-do list for the party in his address to its MPs. While 6 April is the party’s Foundation Day, 14 April is the birth anniversary of Dalit icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar. “We will inform the masses about the central government’s achievements, the goods and services tax (GST) legislation and our win in the recent assembly polls,” party general secretary Bhupender Yadav said.

Yadav, who is in charge of party affairs in Bihar, will be visiting Madhepura, a stronghold of the Lalu Prasad-led RJD. He said Bhim App, a digital payment interface, will also be popularised by party leaders and workers who will also undertake cleanliness drives.

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Union ministers J P Nadda, Smriti Irani and V K Singh will be visiting Thrissur, Amethi and Rae Bareli—the last two being parliamentary constituencies of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and its chief Sonia Gandhi.

Kerala, another state where the party believes it has prospects, will see visits by several ministers, besides West Bengal. Its general secretary Anil Jain and union minister Ram Kripal Yadav will travel to Ferozabad and Mainpuri, two Samajwadi Party bastions in Uttar Pradesh.

After taking over as the BJP chief, Shah had begun work on boosting its strength in a number of states, including Odisha, West Bengal, Kerala and those in the Northeast, as he identified them as places where it can win many more seats in 2019. A better performance in these states can make up for the losses it may suffer in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan where it is likely to find it hard to repeat its 2014 feat.

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