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Amit Shah’s three-day Madhya Pradesh visit from 18 August

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-08-2017 Abhiram Ghadyalpatil

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah will begin a three-day tour of BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh from 18 August to take stock of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government’s performance, two party functionaries said on Tuesday.

Shah will talk to the BJP ministers, MPs, and legislators, the functionaries said over the phone, requesting anonymity.

The BJP president has been on a nationwide tour to review the performance of the party and its governments in a bid to expand the BJP footprint ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP has been ruling since 2003, goes to polls in late 2018. The state, which boasts of an average 20% growth in agriculture in the last three years, has recently seen a spurt in farmer protests that peaked in June and continue in parts of the state.

The Madhya Pradesh BJP feels that the agitation, which led to the death of five farmers in police firing, brought nationwide attention to the state and “created a perception that the BJP government was anti-farmers”, said a state BJP functionary, one of the two cited above. He said Shah will not discuss the farmer protests itself with party leaders but there would be an “elaborate review of the steps taken by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in the agriculture sector”.

“Madhya Pradesh goes to polls along with Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in late 2018, and they hold big significance for us ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” said the BJP functionary.

Another BJP functionary, who hails from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), said the party needed to regroup and revise its strategy in Madhya Pradesh in view of the farmer protests.

“We have identified some weak areas and some strategic mistakes our party machinery made in Madhya Pradesh. We will address them soon,” he said, requesting anonymity. He added that Shah had done a review immediately after the protests broke out. “We figured out that our local cadres could not read the intensity of the protest and the mischief the Congress could play in Mandsaur. The party legislators from Mandsaur district and the entire Malwa region feel that they are not represented in the state cabinet,” the BJP functionary said.

Shah will hold separate meetings with the ministers, MPs, and legislators, the BJP leaders said. Like in other states Shah has toured, the focus will be on building the party machinery, booth management, and disseminating information about the welfare schemes that the central government is implementing, said the BJP officials.

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