Signs of truce and unity have finally emerged in a divided Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) house in politically crucial UP.
According to indications, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is firmly in place to be the face of the BJP in the 2022 assembly elections, with the party deciding to refocus its energy on its ‘booth jeeta to sab jeeta’ (win a booth, win all) strategy.
BJP leaders held marathon meetings in Lucknow on Tuesday where state ministers expressed their faith and confidence in Adityanath to lead the party into the elections.
The party’s national general secretary (organisation), BL Santhosh, who has emerged as the chief trouble-shooter in the state, congratulated Adityanath on Twitter for a record number of 8.1 lakh vaccinations in UP on Tuesday.
Message to people
Two senior ministers present at the marathon meeting at the party’s office in Lucknow, told News18 that the message is to go to people at the block level as BJP did in 2017 and spread the word on the good work done both by the Centre and the state governments in the last five years in UP.
“Last time in 2017, we had only the achievements of the central government to be conveyed to people but this time we have a host of state government gains as well,’’ a minister told News18.
Santhosh and the party’ UP-in charge, Radha Mohan Singh, will visit a booth-level president in Lucknow on Wednesday to reinforce the message that BJP must follow its winning strategy of 2017 and all ministers and functionaries need to focus on booths.
The meeting also stressed that people should be told how Coronavirus had been controlled in a big and populous state like Uttar Pradesh within a month and vaccination was being done at a fast pace, and that every adult would be vaccinated by the end of 2021, the minister said.
A message has been given to go all out to publicise achievements like free ration schemes, record procurement of crops, payment of sugarcane dues and four lakh government jobs given in the state since 2017.
“The campaign launched by the opposition must be countered as well,” the senior minister told News18.
Leaders also patiently listened to ministers complaining that the bureaucracy was not attentive to the complaints of the BJP cadres.
Truce and unity
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and senior RSS leaders had earlier on Tuesday visited the house of Deputy Chief Minister, Keshav Prasad Maurya, to wish him at his son’s marriage.
The significance of the outreach was not lost on many as Maurya had recently said that the party leadership would decide on the CM face for the polls.
His statement was backed by another BJP leader and minister, Swami Prasad Maurya.
The senior party leadership is, however, giving out a clear message that while Adityanath will be the CM face, the two Deputy CMs, Keshav Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, will get due prominence during the campaign as BJP projects a “social coalition” to the voters, especially of the other backward castes (OBCs), upper-castes and Brahmins.
The letter written by recently appointed BJP state vice-president AK Sharma, to the party chief in UP is also being seen as a sign of peace between the warring factions.
Sharma – a former key bureaucrat close to the Prime Minister but kept out by the Chief Minister in UP - expressed confidence in the party winning the 2022 elections under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath.
Sharma was also invited to the meetings of the BJP state leadership in Lucknow on Tuesday, along with newly inducted former Congressmen, Jitin Prasada.
Both are expected to be used in a big way during the campaign to reach out to the upper castes.
The party is also planning a big Dalit outreach, one state minister said.
A second minister present at the meeting said a lot of stress has also been put on BJP leaders camping on the ground and meeting as many people as possible, including those who have lost their kin during the second wave of coronavirus and help soothe any anger against the party and state government on this count.
Party leaders, including the state chief Swatantra Dev Singh, are visiting the homes of BJP workers who lost family members to COVID, promising them all help. This exercise will be expanded further.
The CM had also recently announced that state ministers, MLAs, MPs, and BJP state functionaries would adopt a community health centre (CHC) and public health centre (PHC) each to ensure both proper treatment of people and COVID-19 vaccination.
The CM has himself adopted multiple such CHC and PHCs and all present at the meeting were implored to do the same without any delay to send a message among people that good medical treatment is easily available.