SHAH OF AC­TION

India Today - - COVER STORY -

anger nag­ging the BJP. What is cer­tain, though, is that with the SP mired in fam­ily squab­bles and Mayawati no longer a po­tent force, the BJP does fancy its chances of emerg­ing as the sin­gle­largest party in the state. Strik­ing a more re­al­is­tic note, though, a party leader says, “Our assess­ment is that we have crossed the 180­mark, and are sure to get a good ma­jor­ity with the in­fight­ing in the SP and Mayawati’s im­age on the downslide. Our prom­ise of good gov­er­nance against the cor­rup­tion, nepo­tism and goonda raj of our ri­vals is play­ing a big role in this transformation. The biggest fac­tor in our favour is the clean im­age of the Modi govern­ment.” Un­der­ly­ing the BJP’s con­fi­dence is Amit Shah’s care­fully­de­vised grand plan to win UP. A four­pronged en­deavor, the plan aims to im­prove the party’s or­gan­i­sa­tional strength; take the message of Modi’s devel­op­ment and pro­poor schemes to peo­ple right up to the vil­lage level; draft lead­ers and work­ers from other par­ties where the BJP it­self is weak or ab­sent; and stick to the blue­print of the tra­di­tional poll cam­paign till the vil­lage level and till the last day.

In keeping with the first part of the plan, Shah and Om­prakash Mathur di­vided the state into seven zones, Kashi, Go­rakh­pur, Awadh, Paschim (West UP), Kanpur, Ro­hilk­hand (Mo­rad­abad and Rae Bareli) and Bun­delk­hand, and held party work­ers’ meet­ings in each of them through May and June. At­tended by 20,00025,000 work­ers, the zonal ral­lies had the scale of pub­lic meet­ings. Over 1.35 lakh work­ers reg­is­tered in these meet­ings through a for­mal process. This was fol­lowed by the for­ma­tion of booth com­mit­tees of work­ers in 120,000 of the 135,000 elec­toral booths in the state. District party units too have been re­or­gan­ised, keeping caste equa­tions in mind in a state that is ex­tremely sen­si­tive on that front.

Each booth com­mit­tee has nine party work­ers drawn from the ma­jor castes of the area. “They are like our elec­toral foot sol­diers. They will play a ma­jor role on the fi­nal day,” says

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