2019 election: BJP unsure of victory on its own, seeks help from RSS

Concerned by people’s anger over issues like price rise, the BJPis not confident about winning the next Lok Sabha election on its own and has now sought help from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

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IANS Photo
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NH Political Bureau

The Bharatiya Janata Party is worried about its prospects in the next Lok Sabha elections, and is analysing its chances seat-by-seat. The party has decided that report cards will be prepared to assess all its sitting MPs. Additionally, the entire command of poll preparation in Uttar Pradesh has, effectively, been placed in the hands of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Towards this, BJP has taken command away from its ministers in charge of the organisation in different regions of Uttar Pradesh, and handed it over to ministers with a long-time RSS background.

After its humiliating losses in by-elections for Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana at the hands of the SP-BSP-led Opposition coalition, and faced with this same coalition in the 2019 general elections, BJP’s strategy for Uttar Pradesh is in disarray. Hence BJP has decided to hand over poll preparation in Uttar Pradesh to the Sangh. In RSS terms, Uttar Pradesh has been divided into six prants and responsibility for each prant has been given to different ministers.

Uttar Pradesh BJP president Mahendra Pandey on June 16 changed the working areas under ministers in charge of the BJP regional organisations. Under the new arrangement, Varanasi's organisation-in charge Ratnakar will now handle both Gorakhpur prant along with Varanasi prant from his base in Varanasi. Pradyuman will be handling the Awadh prant, based in Lucknow. Similarly, Bhavani Singh, based out of Agra, has been given charge of the Braj prant along with Kanpur-Bundelkhand. The previous ministers in charge, Shiv Kumar Pathak for Gorakhpur, Om Prakash for Kanpur and Braj Bahadur for Awadh have been relieved of their responsibility for the time being.

The point to note here is that the UP ministers now holding responsibility of different regions have all been RSS pracharaks. These changes have been made considering the importance of Uttar Pradesh in Lok Sabha elections. The state sends the maximum of 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. Each minister has been asked to prepare a report on how strong the SP-BSP-led coalition is in their prant, and how the challenge can be dealt with.

The entire command of poll preparation in Uttar Pradesh has, effectively, been placed in the hands of RSS. Towards this, BJP has taken command away from its ministers in charge of the organisation in different regions of Uttar Pradesh, and handed it over to ministers with a long-time RSS background

In fact, the BJP has already started planning together with the RSS to formulate strategy for the 2019 elections. The strategy is being finalised in the four-day meeting of RSS and BJP in Surajkund, Haryana near Delhi, which ends today. Sources say that at this meeting, the decision of giving tickets to sitting BJP MPs will be made only on the basis of review of their work and their chances of re-election in their constituencies, as per the report cards prepared by BJP ministers who were former RSS pracharaks .

According to a report in the Economic Times, the RSS and the BJP organisation in-charge ministers will decide which sitting BJP MP in Uttar Pradesh will get tickets again and who will be discarded. Sources say that if the MPs have done well, then they have no reason to worry, however if the faith of the public in their constituency has diminished, then no matter how high profile the leader, they will not get the ticket again. BJP organisation in-charge ministers will also propose the name of the new candidates in the event of a sitting MP being dropped. The reports will be filed in the next one month.

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