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UP BJP Getting Ready For Battle Of 2024

February 22, 2023 18:32 IST

'The BJP would like to build a 'rainbow' coalition of different castes and communities buttressed by the appeal of nationalism and Hindutva.'

IMAGE: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath interacts with people living in a night shelter, Varanasi, January 9, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections less than 14 months away, the Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh has launched spadework for necessary organisational changes for the upcoming polls.

In UP, the BJP won 71 and 62 seats (without allies) in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, respectively.

Of the BJP's national tally of 282 and 303 seats, respectively, in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, Uttar Pradesh accounted for 25 per cent and 20 per cent.

UP, which accounts for 80 Lok Sabha seats, the highest across states, holds the key for any political party nursing ambitions of a national role.

Although the Opposition camp is largely in disarray at the national level, the BJP is not taking chances.

Moreover, the victory of the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal in the Mainpuri Lok Sabha and Khatauli assembly bypolls respectively has pushed the ruling party to effect course correction in right earnest.

The forthcoming UP urban local body elections will be the last poll challenge which the BJP is looking to successfully overcome, before facing the big battle in 2024.

To take the agenda forward, BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh held a series of meetings with the leadership of the party's UP unit in Lucknow to chart the future course of action.

One of the steps to be taken by the party would be to relieve about half a dozen UP ministers from their organisational posts.

They were included in the UP council of ministers when the BJP returned to power in March 2022, yet they continued to hold key posts in the UP unit.

They include Transport Minister Daya Shankar Singh and Energy Minister A K Sharma, both holding the post of UP BJP vice-president, too.

Among others is Cooperative Minister J P S Rathore, who is a state BJP general secretary.

Besides, Women Welfare Minister and former Uttarakhand governor Baby Rani Maurya continues to hold the post of national BJP vice-president.

Likewise, Social Welfare Minister Narendra Kashyap holds the post of the party's OBC Morcha president.

The posts to be vacated by these leaders, once the nod of the central leadership is taken, would be filled by other aspirants to give due representation to the different regions and communities ahead of the high-octane electoral battle in 2024.

The newfound bonhomie between SP President Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, after the demise of party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, has added another dimension to the state's political landscape, much to the chagrin of the BJP.

Economist and political commentator Yashvir Tyagi says the road to power in New Delhi goes through UP, and that it will be a challenge for the BJP to repeat its past poll performances.

"The talk of revamping the party organisation shows that the BJP is gearing up for the tough electoral battle in 2024. Given social diversity and identity politics in UP, the party would like to build a 'rainbow' coalition of different castes and communities buttressed by the appeal of nationalism and Hindutva," Tyagi added.

Tyagi underlined the changes in the party set-up would plausibly aim at making it relatively socially and regionally representative as the formidable combination of the SP and the RLD would mount a tough challenge in Western UP.

The recent adverse by-election results have reflected a degree of apathy and disillusionment among the urban voters, especially the middle class.

While the BJP possesses formidable and well-oiled election machinery, it still needs the support of the 'double engine' government on the plank of jobs, farm sector income, relief from inflation, etc.

UP BJP Secretary Chandra Mohan told Business Standard the Yogi Adityanath government has delivered on all the parameters of governance and the people would continue to support the party.

"The BJP would continue to serve the people and take every step which promotes the cause of the society and fosters the spirit of inclusivity. We are fully confident that the 'double-engine' government in the state will continue to receive the blessings of the electorate," he added.

Virendra Singh Rawat
Source: source image