“Hindutva” and “nationalism” are likely to become the Bharatiya Janata Party’s core strategy in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, even as party president Amit Shah laid stress on better coordination between the organisation and the state government.
In Lucknow on Wednesday, Amit Shah presided over a coordination meeting between senior functionaries of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the state government and the BJP. The meeting held at a resort was attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his ministerial colleagues and BJP state unit chief Mahendra Nath Pandey.
The coordination meeting assumed significance in the backdrop of the next Lok Sabha election likely to be held in April-May 2019. Since the BJP had swept the 2014 polls by winning 73 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, the state figures prominently in the Sangh’s and BJP’s strategy eyeing a repeat of its performance.
While sources claimed that the issue of Ram temple construction was raised in the meeting, with a section favouring a legislation on the subject, senior RSS functionary Krishna Gopal told journalists after the meeting that the issue was not discussed.
The BJP president, in his address, is reported to have said though the Ram temple was BJP’s commitment, the party and the government was bound by the Constitution. Amit Shah’s response on the issue of Ram temple implied that the government would await the court verdict, sources said. The case will come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on October 29.
Addressing the meeting, Shah reportedly slammed the UPA government for ignoring the ‘Hindu samaj’. He is reported to have lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s achievements and for “giving the country a direction”. The inference drawn from Amit Shah’s address, the sources said, was that Modi must be back in power in 2019.
To achieve this objective, it was decided that the welfare schemes and public-oriented initiatives taken by the Narendra Modi government would be highlighted among the people. Though there is no official word on it, it is learnt that the RSS would assist the BJP in highlighting these schemes among the beneficiaries.
The coordination meeting was given to understand that the “proposed” grand alliance (mahagathbandhan) between the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh posed no threat to the BJP.
Another meeting between the BJP’s organisational functionaries and Yogi government’s ministers is planned on October 29. The ministers’ performance is likely to be discussed at the meeting.