Tasked with repeating the stupendous electoral performances in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Uttar Pradesh wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is bracing up for scoring a hattrick!
The state BJP’s back-to-back stellar showing in the parliamentary elections is credited with enabling the enthronement of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister on the party’s own heft and not depending upon the alliance partners seats.
Now with the 2024 Lok Sabha elections less than 15 months away, the saffron outfit has begin the preliminary spadework of necessary organisational changes for potential third electoral success on the trot.
In UP, the BJP won 71 and 62 seats (without allies) in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections respectively. Compared to the BJP’s national tally of 282 and 303 seats respectively in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, the party’s state unit comprised 25 percent and 20 percent of the outfit’s total tally, thus constituting a substantial chunk of successful candidates.
UP, which accounts for the maximum number of 80 Lok Sabha seats, holds the key for any political party nursing ambitions of a national role.
Although the opposition camp is largely in disarray at the national level, yet the BJP is not taking chances especially in the backdrop of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, which attracted sizeable crowd.
Moreover, the win of the opposition parties viz. Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in the recently held Mainpuri Lok Sabha and Khatauli assembly bypolls respectively has upended the saffron party to effect course correction in right earnest.
The forthcoming UP urban local bodies’ elections are another frontier which the BJP is looking to successfully overcome before facing the big battle in 2024.
Earlier this month, BJP national general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh held a series of meetings recently with the top leadership of the party’s UP unit in Lucknow to chart out the future course of action.
One of the foremost steps to be taken by the party would be to relieve about half dozen UP ministers from their organisational posts. These leaders were included in the UP council of ministers when BJP returned to power in March 2022, yet they continued to hold key posts in the UP unit.
They include UP transport minister Daya Shankar Singh and energy minister A K Sharma with both holding the post of UP BJP vice president also. Other leaders include UP cooperative minister J P S Rathore, who is a state BJP general secretary.
Besides, UP women welfare minister and former Uttarakhand governor Baby Rani Maurya continues to hold the post of national BJP vice president. Likewise, UP social welfare minister Narendra Kashyap also holds the post of party’s OBC Morcha president.
The posts to be vacated by these leaders, once the nod of the central leadership is taken, would be filled with other aspirants to give due representation to the different regions and communities ahead of the high octane 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The new found bonhomie between SP president Akhilesh Yadav and his erstwhile estranged uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav after the demise of party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav has added another dimension to the state’s political landscape, much to the chagrin of the BJP.
The recent adverse byelection results have reflected a degree of apathy and disillusionment among the urban voters especially middle class.
While, BJP possesses formidable and well-oiled election machinery yet it needs support of the eponymous ‘double engine’ government on the plank of jobs, farm sector income, relief from inflation etc.
Nonetheless, the BJP is hoping to keep the momentum going in the coming elections be it the state level polls or the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.