NEW DELHI: BJP chief Amit Shah has begun moves to arrest a possible slide in the number of Lok Sabha members from Bihar in the 2019 polls. An internal assessment of the party suggests the NDA could lose at least half of its current strength of 33 from the state, known as the laboratory of Mandal politics. Shah is taking a relook at the social engineering of the party and political rivals in the state.
That the BJP chief had avoided Bihar after the 2015 Assembly election debacle has been taken note by him, sources said, who added that Shah would intensify political activities there soon. “With the exception of visiting Patna to attend the Guru Prakash Utsav to commemorate the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singh early this year, the BJP chief had been missing in the state. Since Bihar elected 33 of 40 Lok Sabha members in 2014, the state bears significance for 2019. The internal assessment has noted strong anti-incumbency against the party, which needs to be examined,” said a senior BJP functionary.
While Shah will camp in Bihar from November 3-5, he has sought a detailed roadmap from the party to revive the magical 2014 figure when the saffron juggernaut routed the proponents of Mandal politics on their own turf. “The BJP is going to work on each of the other backward castes to turn them into a solid vote base. On the card is a conclave for Kurmis (CM Nitish Kumar’s caste) in which the party will address their aspirational issues. Similar activities will be held for other non-Yadav backward castes,” sources said.
BJP will be eying maximum Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. Its leaders have been asked to oil the machineries from polling booth to the district levels. “JD(U) had won two Lok Sabha seats, while the NDA lost seven. BJP will go ahead to prepare for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with clear instructions that the party will contest all the 25 seats it won in 2014. But the electioneering narrative of 2014 may not work in 2019, and hence extensive social mobilisations will be carried out. Shah’s stay in the state in November will unveil the directions for the party in the run-up to the General Elections,” sources added.