ALLAHABAD: Ahead of the BJP's national executive meeting here, a meeting of the party's national office-bearers began here today with party president Amit Shah chairing it.
Visuals from BJP office bearers' meeting in Allahabad (UP) pic.twitter.com/qq1QowIEqV— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) June 12, 2016
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi would arrive here later in the day for the executive meeting, Shah, veteran leader Murli Manoharj Joshi, party general secretaries Ram Madhav, Ram Lal and Bhupendra Yadav, national secretaries Siddharth Nath Singh and Shrikant Sharma and party spokesman Sambit Patra have already reached the city.
The meeting of the office-bearers began at a city hotel. The national executive meet, which is likely to begin around 3 PM, is likely to set the agenda for the assembly elections in the state which are less than a year away.
Meanwhile, leaders have been pouring in to take part in the two-day conclave which will conclude tomorrow, followed by a rally to be addressed by Modi. Several senior members of the Union cabinet and Chief Ministers of all the states ruled by the BJP are also likely to take part in the national executive meeting.
"I would have called it as sounding the poll bugle for UP assembly polls but for PM Modi's rally in Saharanpur last month," said BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh yesterday, while party's vice president and in-charge for the state Om Mathur said "many issues would be discussed at the national executive but the main focus would obviously be on the UP assembly polls due next year".
Posters have come up across the city displaying the header 'Mission 265 Plus' – a term coined by Shah who has repeatedly exhorted workers to aim at achieving a thumping majority for the party in the 403 strong UP assembly. The BJP at present has less than 50 MLAs in the house, a massive decline since the 1990s when it used to be the top political group in the state.
BJP has brought several new faces to its national executive, the highlight being some former Congress leaders, including former Odisha Chief Minister and tribal leader Giridhar Gamang and saffron party leader K V Singh Deo, also from that state. Deo is a former state party chief.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, who defected from Congress to BJP and played a key role in its big Assam win, and former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, a new entrant to the saffron party, have also been inducted into the national executive.