NEW DELHI: The battleground will shift from Parliament to five states going to polls this summer. The BJP-led NDA has been preparing to present a more pro-people image after it faced electoral reverses in Assembly elections in the last two years. After its crushing defeat in Bihar, it will be using Prime Minister Narendra Modi sparingly in the upcoming polls.
Ahead of the elections in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, the government shifted gears by focusing on a pro-farmer and pro-poor budget. It managed to get the Real Estate Bill and Aadhaar Bill, which directly impact people, passed. Along with the current debate over nationalism, the BJP will go to polls with a pro-people narrative.
Except for Assam, it’s a low stakes game for the party in other states. The focus will be on local talent. Sources said the PM may address four-five rallies in Assam and West Bengal. The change comes after Bihar, where Modi addressed nearly 20 rallies but BJP lost.
“We hope to increase BJP’s footprint in all the five states. In Assam, the party has good chances of forming the government. The focus will be on good governance and steps taken by the Modi government,” said a Cabinet minister. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu will be campaigning in the states. Irani will address rallies in West Bengal to take on Mamata Banerjee.
Sarbanada Sonowal, BJP’s CM candidate for Assam, will be helped by party general secretary Ram Madhav. The party has roped in a breakaway faction of poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s team to help in Assam. Sources said polls in Assam and West Bengal will see BJP focus on corruption of the Congress and Trinamool governments.