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Amit Shah headed for Mumbai to assess farm stir impact

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-06-2017 Abhiram Ghadyalpatil

Mumbai: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) national president Amit Shah will be in Mumbai from 16 to 18 June to take stock of party affairs and assess the performance of the government led by his party in Maharashtra.

Shah is now on a tour of states to assess the state of the party, review the performance of BJP-led governments, and expand the party’s footprint in states where it has little presence.

Shah’s Mumbai visit comes in the wake of large-scale farm protests in the state that ended only when the BJP-led state government announced a farm loan waiver.

BJP functionaries said Shah will assess the political impact of the farm unrest and the response to the farm loan waiver.

“It was no secret that the farm unrest was fanned and fuelled by political parties like the Nationalist Congress Party and the Shiv Sena. Since there are no elections anywhere in Maharashtra in the near future, we have to measure the political impact of farmers’ protest through other means. Shah would talk to party legislators, cadres, and ministers, to make this assessment,” a state BJP functionary said, requesting anonymity.

Shah will meet BJP legislators and state unit office-bearers at the Garware Club on 16 June, and BJP members of Parliament (MPs) on 17 June at the Sahyadri state guest house. The BJP president will hold a performance review meeting with BJP ministers in Maharashtra on 18 June at the official residence of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the BJP functionary said.

“This review will be done on two broad points—what has been the ministers’ contribution towards growth of the party in his home district and how effectively have ministers taken the Centre’s and state’s schemes to the people,” said the BJP leader.

Maharashtra is the second BJP-ruled state after Uttar Pradesh to announce a farm loan waiver. While the Centre has clarified that every state has to make its own financial arrangements to pay for the loan waiver, the political impact of this sop will be borne both by the state government as well as the Centre at least in Maharashtra, the BJP leaders feel.

“Elections to Maharashtra assembly, if held on schedule, will take place within six months of the general elections in 2019. So, the performance of both the Modi government and the Fadnavis government will be judged on the same parameters,” said another BJP leader and minister requesting anonymity.

He, however, added that a political review of ministers’ performance was also in order in case Maharashtra goes in for mid-term polls in late 2017.

“Our ties with the Shiv Sena will be a point of discussion. In 2014 elections, the BJP, Shiv Sena, and other allies together won 44 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra. We cannot possibly better this performance in 2019 and holding on to even 44 would be difficult given the bitter ties with Shiv Sena and other allies. This point would come up for discussion,” the BJP minister said.

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