The BJP is hoping to minimise potential losses in Uttar Pradesh which has the highest pool of Lok Sabha seats
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to intensify its campaign in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections by lining up a number of events involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party National President Amit Shah.
The frantic activity in the BJP follows two major political developments in the state in the last month and a half -- formalisation of the Samajwadi Party (SP)-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s entry into active politics as the new All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary for UP (East).
A number of projects are also planned for unveiling ahead of the possible declaration of general election dates by the Election Commission of India (EC). The poll panel is widely expected to announce the election dates in early March. The model code of conduct would be imposed as soon as the dates are announced.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the prime minister is set to lay foundation stones for multiple projects in Jhansi on February 15 that includes a defence manufacturing corridor. PM Modi will also address a public meeting there.
On February 19, PM Modi will visit his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi to inaugurate infrastructure projects that include a cancer hospital. PM Modi will also address a rally in Varanasi’s Rohania Assembly segment, the report adds.
The prime minister will return to UP on February 24 to address a session of BJP Kisan Morcha’s National Convention in Gorakhpur. The convention would be inaugurated by Shah a day earlier. Gorakhpur, a bastion of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, was won by SP-BSP in the 2018 Lok Sabha by-elections.
The BJP president is also expected to visit the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj (erstwhile Allahabad) on February 13, where he is likely to interact with saints of various akharas and meet local party leaders.
He is also likely to visit address party workers in eastern UP on February 26 in either Ghazipur or Ballia, the report quotes a BJP leader as saying.
On February 11, PM Modi served meals to underprivileged schoolchildren in Vrindavan, UP. He also unveiled a ceremonial plaque at the event to mark the serving of "3rd billionth meal" by Akshaya Patra Foundation at Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir campus in the holy city.
PM Modi and Shah's growing public engagements in UP come at a time when the Congress is also stepping up its campaign. On February 11, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Congress President Rahul Gandhi held a road show in Lucknow.
Opinion polls have predicted that the BJP’s tally would be cut to half due to the SP-BSP alliance.In 2014, BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had won 73 out of the state’s 80 seats. SP and the Congress had won five and two seats each. The BSP had failed to open its account.