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BJP in huddle ahead of UP assembly polls; top leaders to arrive in Lucknow

After top leaders from the party and RSS met last week, BJP’s national organisation secretary BL Santhosh and UP in-charge Radha Mohan Singh are landing in Lucknow on May 31 to finalise a way forward.

May 31, 2021 / 11:18 AM IST
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during the 4th International Yoga Day function at Raj Bhawan, in Lucknow on Thursday, June 21, 2018.

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during the 4th International Yoga Day function at Raj Bhawan, in Lucknow on Thursday, June 21, 2018.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it seems, has started working on an election strategy for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections scheduled to be held after eight months. The rulling party performed poorly in the recently held local body elections.

After top leaders from the party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) met last week, BJP’s national organisation secretary BL Santhosh and UP in-charge Radha Mohan Singh are landing in Lucknow on May 31 for a two-day visit, according to the sources.

These back-to-back meetings come amid allegations that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led administration mismanaged the COVID-19 situation in the state, the party’s dismal performance in recently-concluded West Bengal assembly polls, and poor performance in key seats in the UP panchayat election.

Also, UP assembly polls assume significance for the party because the performance in the largest-populated state in 2020 would be crucial for the 2024 general elections. UP has 80 Lok Sabha seats and 403 assembly seats.

READ: PM Modi speaks to UP CM Yogi Adityanath, takes stock of COVID-19 situation in the state

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Santhosh and Singh, sources said, will meet UP general secretary Sunil Bansal and other party leaders on May 31. BJP’s state co-in-charge Sanjeev Chaurasia will also be present in the meeting being held amid speculation about a possible reshuffle of the Yogi Adityanath cabinet ahead of 2022  polls. Adityanath called on UP governor Anandiben Patel at Raj Bhavan in Lucknow last week.

The two leaders are expected to take feedback from legislators which they will share with the party’s top leadership in Delhi.

"The focus will be to improve the government's image that has faced a dent in the past few months due to pandemic. The members of local bodies will also be finalized," said a leader.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.

The BJP won the 2017 UP assembly polls by an overwhelming three-quarters majority of 325 of the 403 seats despite not projecting a chief ministerial candidate before the election.

Adityanath was later declared the CM. But his government has faced criticism from various quarters recently, particularly over the alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic in one of the worst-affected states of the country.

Opposition leaders apart, even the members of the ruling BJP have questioned the Adityanath government’s handling of the second wave of the COVID-19.

Also, read: UP gearing up to tackle COVID's possible 3rd wave, black fungus infection: CM Yogi Adityanath

On May 9, for example, Union Labour minister Santosh Gangwar complained to the CM about the situation in his Bareilly constituency. In a letter to CM Adityanath, Gangwar cited the “big shortage” of empty oxygen cylinders and the high prices of medical equipment in Bareilly. Prior to that, BJP’s Sitapur MLA, Rakesh Rathore also expressed resentment over COVID-19 management in Uttar Pradesh.

This is precisely why the party’s top brass and RSS have been in a huddle for the past few weeks. On May 23, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah reportedly attended a meeting of the BJP and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to discuss the party's strategy.

What followed was a four-day visit by RSS ‘sarkaryavah’ or general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale to Lucknow to seek feedback from key state-level office-bearers on the public perception of the Yogi Adityanath-led government. It is, perhaps, on Hosabale’s request that the two BJP leaders from Delhi are visiting Lucknow to deliberate the party’s future strategy.

Also, read: Is UP govt preparing to make way for third COVID wave and then fight it, asks Priyanka Gandhi

“It was a closed-door meeting between Sangh leaders in the presence of the sarkaryavah. I would call it a routine meeting, where senior leaders sat and discussed the present situation and how the Sangh can play a role. It was not a political meeting. He did not meet any BJP leader,” an RSS functionary was quoted saying about Hosabale's visit by the Print.



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