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Get battle ready for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP tells its CMs

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-09-2017 Gyan Varma

New Delhi: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has signalled to its chief ministers to start preparing for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

At a meeting convened by party president Amit Shah in Delhi on Monday evening with all the chief ministers and deputy chief ministers of the 18 states ruled by the BJP, senior leaders of the party decided that the BJP would focus on the schemes undertaken by their government in empowering the poor—as opposed to the strategy of entitlement pursued by the erstwhile Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

“This was the second meeting of all the CMs and deputy CMs since August. It has been decided that states should speed up delivery of government programmes and schemes which help improve the lives of the people. The BJP and the union government is keen that there is tangible change in the lives of the people which was an election promise of the party. The change has to be visible,” said a senior BJP leader.

The meeting of chief ministers is significant because in the next 15 months elections are due in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where the BJP will be in direct contest with the Congress. The party hopes to retain all the six states where it is the incumbent—and also win Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, where the Congress is in power.

“Apart from these states, three northeastern states, Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya, will also witness assembly elections and the BJP leadership hopes to maintain its winning streak in the Northeast,” the BJP leader said.

The BJP is looking to showcase the Ujjwala scheme which provides cooking gas cylinders to financially weaker sections, LED lights programme, construction of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, housing for all, the newly launched Saubhagya scheme for household electrification and the Mudra scheme which provides loans to scheduled castes, Scheduled Tribes, women and youth.

“Apart from these programmes of the government, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme would also be pushed by the state governments,” the BJP leader added.

The importance of the schemes chosen by the BJP to highlight its achievements is that they are those that impact the lives of Dalits, financially weaker sections and other backward classes (OBCs), along with women. The party has tried to reach out to these communities and the strategy has helped the BJP form governments in several states, including Uttar Pradesh.

Political analysts feel that the government programmes have helped the BJP expand its social and political base in several states, especially to reach out to Dalits and OBCs. “These schemes have been extremely beneficial for the BJP because in a recent survey conducted by Voter Mood Research (VMR) in Jharkhand, it was found that there was a mood in favour of the BJP because of the schemes started by the government,” said Jai Mrug, Mumbai-based political analyst and Director of VMR.

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