Modi to chair campaign panel meet on July 4

Modi to chair campaign panel meet on July 4
Highlights

Hindutva icon and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, will be chairing the first meeting of the Central...

narendra modiHindutva icon and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, will be chairing the first meeting of the Central Campaign Committee at the BJP headquarters here on July 4. Modi has a tough task on his hands, as he has to get down to working on the campaign strategy in the run up to the General Election in 2014, especially at a time, when the allies of the saffron party are not too happy over his elevation. The BJP Parliamentary Board will also meet on Thursday.

Eyeing rallies across the country, Modi is expected to visit Hyderabad on July 27, besides holding similar rallies elsewhere. Modi will send out a clear signal on Telangana and try to put the party ahead of the TRS. In the secular-communal context, Modi may even take on the MIM. The BJP hopes that Modi will be able to put the BJP on a high pedestal and help the party to bounce back in a State where the contest is highly polarized.

A key element of the BJP campaign is to woo the minorities, as the party is planning to bring out a Vision Document to win over Minorities. As Modi polarizes sharply, the party does not want Minorities consolidation behind the Congress. To neutralize it, the BJP plans to vigorously try to attract Muslims to its fold. The point that the party would like to make is that all the so-called secular parties, starting with the Congress, used Muslims as a votebank, while Modi, by his example, brought about a visible improvement among the Muslims in Gujarat, which he would replicate at the national level.

Modi has ambitious plans of reviving the BJP in the largest Hindi-heartland State of Uttar Pradesh. Unless and until the BJP improves its political fortunes in the State that returns the largest contingent of 80 MPs, the BJP cannot hope to come to power at the Centre. When the BJP came to power at the Centre in 1998, it had performed extremely well in Uttar Pradesh. In 2009, the party managed to win only 10 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. The party has to once again revive itself in Uttar Pradesh, to realize its ambition of staging a comeback to power at the Centre, 10 years after it lost it in 2014.

Ahead of the general elections, there are crucial State Assembly elections in November-December in the States of Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. In this round of Assembly elections, the BJP is battling to retain its hold on Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where the incumbent Chief Ministers, Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh, are hoping to score a hat-trick, like Modi, by coming back to power in their respective States.

The biggest challenge for Modi is to ensure that the BJP does not only retain its hold on Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh but also wrest Rajasthan and Delhi from the Congress. The upcoming round of Assembly elections would prove to be an acid test for Modi, as a lacklustre performance may cast a shadow on his leadership, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

Anita Saluja

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