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Chintan baithak: BJP has election on mind
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | June 18, 2003 00:04 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party is in election mode -- just listen in on the buzz created by its 'chintan baithak' which got underway at Uttan in Thane district near Mumbai on Tuesday.
And if the BJP circles are buzzing, the party's allies and the opposition are all ears.
This could be the ruling party's biggest strategy meeting before the next general election, widely expected to be held earlier than the scheduled September, 2004.
Mahajan already has a label for the strategy that will be thrashed out at the meeting in the next three days. He calls it 'Mission 2004'.
Demystified, Mission 2004 translates thus -- 200 plus seats for the BJP, an absolute majority for the National Democratic Alliance.
According to sources, the BJP will go to the polls with a new agenda in 2004. This means Article 370, common civil code and Ayodhya will not be raised -- at least not officially.
After a people-friendly budget, after providing a stable government, after breaking the myth of non-Congress governments being non-starters, the party wants to go to the voters with a positive agenda.
However, after Venkaiah Naidu's 'vikas purush-loh purush' mess, the party will be very careful how it articulates the roles assigned to its two top leaders.
While drawing its plan for 'Mission 2004', the BJP will project Prime Minister Vajpayee as a statesman.
The four-day 'baithak' is being held at the sprawling Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini complex located in the sylvan surroundings of Uttan.
Mhalgi was a veteran Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader. The complex is run by four trusts belonging to the RSS.
Arrangements have been made to put up Vajpayee and five other VVIPs at the Vyaskul complex, while 20 other top leaders will be accommodated at the Eklavya complex.
Shabri dining hall will serve 'sada, saaf, suruchipurn' food, to quote a source.
There will be ample food for thought too.