Amit Shah picks 35 for 2019 crack team
By Namita Bajpai | Published: 17th September 2017 09:44 AM |
LUCKNOW: The Lok Sabha elections are still 18 months away, but the BJP has got into poll mode. Party president Amit Shah is busy arranging his quiver to accomplish the bigger ‘Mission 300’ in 2019. Working on these lines, Shah has reportedly picked up 35 leaders from across the country who have mastery over organisational issues and expertise in drawing winnable poll strategies.
For 2019, the BJP top brass has identified 120 seats across the country on which the party has never emerged victorious. Mission 2019 also aims at increasing the BJP tally in states such as West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, where the party’s performance was not impressive enough in 2014.
According to party insiders, the chosen strategists—of whom at least three are from Uttar Pradesh—have been deputed on these identified seats and have been entrusted to thrash out a plan so that the party wins as many of those invincible seats as possible. They have also been asked to identify the reason why the party could not win the seats despite having a wave in its favour in 2014. Three Uttar Pradesh leaders in the lot of 35 include Union Minister of State for Telecom and Railways Manoj Sinha, and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Transport Swatantra Deo Singh and Rural Development Minister Mahendra Singh. Sinha has been handed the charge of five West Bengal seats. He is an MP from Ghazipur in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Interestingly, he was one of the frontrunners for the chief ministerial post in the state.
Swatantra has been made in-charge of five Madhya Pradesh seats and Mahendra will take care of six Maharashtra seats. Though Swatantra has never won an election, his organisational skills and his trait of making one-to-one contact with the cadre are undisputed. He had contested Assembly election from Orai in 2012 but was defeated. Recently, he was elected to the Uttar Pradesh Council.
Mahendra, also a national secretary, is supposed to be the man behind the party’s victory in Assam as he was the state in-charge during the last Assembly election. The BJP formed its government for the first time in Assam. “While Manoj Sinha and Swatantra Deo have paid one visit to the state, they are supposed to focus on West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. Mahendra Singh is yet to visit Maharashtra to take stock of the situation,” said a senior party leader.
To accomplish this bigger goal, the RSS, meanwhile, is also helping the BJP with frequent interactions among the party, government and the Sangh to assess its strengths and weaknesses. One such ‘chintan baithak’ was orgainsed in Vrindavan early this month, which witnessed the presence of who’s who of RSS, BJP and other fringe organisations so that a pulse of the party’s preparedness for 2019 could be felt, besides discussing other issues of national interests.