By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: Apprehending tough challenge from a united opposition in UP, PM Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah have increased the frequency of their visits to this state. The leadership seems to have realised that Modi needs to spend more time in UP to reach out to the masses, without which it would be difficult for the party to retain the 73 Lok Sabha seats, including two of ally Apna Dal, won in 2014.
The Prime Minister’s visit is being organised on the pretext of inaugurating big factories, as he did recently in Noida, or participating in investors meet in Lucknow and addressing public meetings in Varanasi and other places. There is no doubt that in UP Narendra Modi will remain the main face of the party campaign for 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Modi laid the foundation stone for 81 projects worth Rs 60,000 crore in Lucknow at a function in Lucknow. Some 80 leading industrialists, including Aditya Birla Group’s Kumar Mangalam Birla, Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani, Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra, and ITC Ltd managing director Sanjeev Puri, participated in the event.
Modi said the meet was a follow-up of the UP Investors Summit in February 2018, held as part of the state government’s plan to attract investments and promote industrialisation of the state. He pointed out that the meet generated investment interest across various sectors like renewable energy, infrastructure, power, IT and electronic manufacturing, tourism.
Party chief Amit Shah is also visiting UP frequently to meet ministers as well as senior party functionaries. Much significance is being attached to Shah’s meeting with Narendra Giri, President of Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, at Allahabad to discuss Lok Sabha elections and Kumbh mela preparations.
The Modi and Yogi governments are doing everything possible to brand Kumbh mela as a global event to take advantage of it in the forthcoming elections. The All India Akhara Parishad represents 13 Hindu monastic orders and that is why Amit Shah met people like Narendra Giri to enlist his support for the party in the Lok Sabha polls.
There is a sense of panic in BJP as the party is expected to drop over a dozen sitting MPs to avoid loss due to anti-incumbency. These MPs are already very vocal in criticising policies and programme of the Modi and Yogi governments. They are also said to be in touch with other parties to keep their options open for securing tickets for the next elections.
Party workers are writing on the social media pages of senior BJP leaders that it would be difficult to get more than 15 seats in the state as the ground reality was much different from what was being fed by senior leaders. Keeping the volatile situation in view, the party is also holding regional meetings and opening dialogues of MPs, ministers and legislators with party workers.
Yogi Adityanath claimed that ever since he took over as CM he completed visits to as many as 79 districts to oversee development projects. He also claimed that his experiment to hold night chaupal in villages was a grand success. Besides party workers, all the members of Sangh Parivar have also been pressed into service to reach out to masses and ensure victory of party candidates.
There is realisation in the saffron brigade that in view of defeat in the by-elections for three Lok Sabha seats and one assembly seats concerted efforts would be required to retain the seats won in 2014. (IPA Service)
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