|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
BJP may opt for local issues in
November polls in four states
Tara Shankar Sahay in Indore | April 04, 2003 01:21 IST
A victory in Gujarat, a defeat in Himachal Pradesh; both decisive verdicts.
What strategy then should the Bharatiya Janata Party adopt for the forthcoming assembly elections in four major states?
This would be the question that the party would try to answer at its two-day national executive meet commencing in Indore on Friday.
Buoyed by the Gujarat result, but suitably chastised by the outcome in Himachal Pradesh, the party appears to be realising that Hindutva is not an infallible issue.
After a meeting of the party's general secretaries on Thursday, the seniormost among them Pramod Mahajan told reporters that Hindutva was a matter of faith and not an issue to be used by the BJP to fight elections.
Now aware that the anti-incumbency factor played an important role in its rout in Himachal Pradesh, Mahajan said the party would rake up local issues during the forthcoming polls in Delhi, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
He denied that it would discuss the next general elections. "They are still eighteen months away," he pointed out.
Mahajan said the O P Kohli committee's report on amending the BJP constitution would be discussed by the national executive, as also organisational polls, including electing a new party chief in November-December this year.
Party president M Venkaiah Naidu would kickstart the proceedings on the opening day by spelling out the party's and the government's achievements.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would be addressing a public meeting later in the afternoon during which he is expected to dwell on his government's achievements during the past five years.
The party would also discuss the war in Iraq on the opening day itself.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government has attracted considerable flak for being soft on the US, which attacked Iraq brushing aside opposition from the United Nations.
Even some allies like the Telugu Desam Party and the Samata Party have openly criticised the BJP on this issue.
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani would be addressing the meet on Saturday and his views on the two issues he helped the party capitalize on -- Ayodhya and Hindutva – would be heard with rapt attention.
Vajpayee's speech on the concluding day, a party general secretary said, would include his prescription for avoiding the pitfalls of coalition politics while exhorting the party to strengthen the NDA.
More reports from Madhya Pradesh
Read about: Assembly Election 2003 | Death of Madhavrao Scindia