NEW DELHI: BJP chief Amit Shah’s calendar for the coming months, dotted with extensive campaigning in five poll-bound states, seemingly puts to rest speculations about Prime Minister Narendra Modi doing what Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in 2004 — call early Lok Sabha elections.
BJP strategists are of the view that the prospect of advancing the general election has become remote now.
Sources in the BJP said Shah would largely be camping in three BJP ruled states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — which go to polls in November-December. He will also be in action in Telangana and Mizoram.
Even though the BJP chief would be travelling to other states to oil the party’s poll machinery for the Lok Sabha elections, sources said Shah’s singular focus would remain on the three party-ruled states with the aim to beat the apparent anti-incumbency. He would entrust the responsibility to lead electioneering in Telangana and Mizoram to his trusted lieutenants.
The BJP chief has to deal with emerging challenge from the party’s core constituency of Rajputs and Jats in Rajasthan, who are giving mixed signals. There are indications that MLA Manvendra Singh, son of former Union minister Jaswant Singh, may bolt away to become Independent or join the Congress ranks.
“Shah has made his stake in Rajsthan obvious by handpicking BJP’s state unit chief Madan Lal Saini and campaign committee chief Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. He will have to hand-hold the new faces to allow Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to beat the strong anti-incumbency,” said a senior BJP functionary.
In MP, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan is seen sweating out against the ‘fatigue’ factor seen among the electorate. “Chouhan alone may not win the elections. Shah will have to demonstrate his electoral acumen in the state to defend BJP’s arguably strongest citadel,” the party leader added.
Having scraped through with a difference of less than one per cent vote share in 2013, the BJP is sensing another cliffhanger of an election in Chhattisgarh.
“The poll outcome of the three BJP-ruled states will set the trend for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Shah has his task cut out to blank out any scope to allow an opening for the Opposition to build its campaign against Modi, which explains his busy calendar till the year-end,” the BJP leader said.
Hectic campaign calendar
BJP strategists are of the view that the prospect of advancing the general election has become remote now that it’s clear party chief Amit Shah’s calendar till year-end is marked with extensive campaigning in three BJP-ruled states that are going to polls