Oppn throws down a chal­lenge in UP, BJP to re­spond with Namo

Mint ST - - POLITICS - Gyan Varma [email protected] NEW DELHI

BJP hopes work done by NDA at cen­tre and state lev­els for weaker sec­tions will set the tone for LS polls

Pre­par­ing to counter the com­bined elec­toral strength of the Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP) and Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP) in Ut­tar Pradesh for the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions, the rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is bank­ing on the pop­u­lar­ity of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, be­sides putting its house in or­der.

Se­nior BJP lead­ers are of the view that the work done by the Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA) both at the cen­tre and in the state for the so­cially and fi­nan­cially weaker sec­tions will set the tone for the Lok Sabha elec­tions. They said though Apna Dal and Suheldev Bharatiya Sa­maj Party (SBSP) have raised con­cerns over cer­tain is­sues, the two al­liance part­ners will re­main in the NDA and will con­test the elec­tions un­der Modi’s lead­er­ship.

“These two po­lit­i­cal par­ties, SP and BSP, have come to­gether be­cause they are weak and were con­cerned about the pop­u­lar­ity of the Prime Min­is­ter. We are go­ing to reach out to both Apna Dal and SBSP to ad­dress their con­cerns. Since SP and BSP have not ac­com­mo­dated the Con­gress and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in their al­liance, there is no space for Apna BJP plans to reach out to al­liance part­ners Apna Dal and SBSP to ad­dress their con­cerns and main­tain NDA’S sta­bil­ity Dal and SBSP in the op­po­si­tion camp. NDA is stable and we will con­test to­gether,” said a se­nior min­is­ter of the Ut­tar Pradesh gov­ern­ment, re­quest­ing anonymity

BJP lead­ers also said that the SP-BSP al­liance will help the BJP in its so­cial out­reach as the party will now try to reach out to mem­bers of the non-ya­dav other back­ward classes (OBCS) and non-jatav sched­uled castes (SCS) to strengthen its sup­port base.

“The Union gov­ern­ment has pro­vided 10% reser­va­tion for the gen­eral cat­e­gory and we will also be in­di­vid­u­ally tar­get­ing the OBC and SC com­mu­ni­ties that are not aligned with the Yadavs and Jatavs, who are the main sup­port base of Mayawati and Akhilesh Ya­dav. We ex­pect that this re­verse po­lar­iza­tion will help BJP ex­pand its so­cial and elec­toral base.” said a BJP leader, re­quest­ing anonymity.

The bat­tle for Ut­tar Pradesh in the forth­com­ing Lok Sabha polls could prove to be de­ci­sive for both the op­po­si­tion and the rul­ing al­liance—the com­bi­na­tion that wins the max­i­mum seats in the state has a bet­ter chance of form­ing the gov­ern­ment in Delhi. In the last one year, the SP-BSP com­bine have won the Lok Sabha by­elec­tions in Go­rakh­pur, Phulpur and Kairana, in a di­rect con­test with the BJP.

The con­test in Ut­tar Pradesh is also sig­nif­i­cant be­cause NDA had won 73 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 gen­eral elec­tions and the state was in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing the BJP to power na­tion­ally. The elec­toral im­por­tance of the state can also be un­der­stood from the fact that the Prime Min­is­ter had con­tested from Varanasi to boost BJP’S chances.

“All these po­lit­i­cal par­ties are join­ing hands be­cause they know BJP is strong. The al­liance be­tween SP and BSP is against the ba­sic na­ture of the two par­ties. They do not have an agenda for de­vel­op­ment, but it is their po­lit­i­cal need for sur­vival,” the BJP leader added.

BJP lead­ers also said that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) will or­ga­nize a “Dharam Sansad”, a meet­ing of Hindu re­li­gious lead­ers in Praya­graj be­tween 31 Jan­uary and 1 Fe­bru­ary, which could prove to be sig­nif­i­cant since the re­li­gious gath­er­ing will dis­cuss the con­struc­tion of a Ram tem­ple at the dis­puted site in Ay­o­d­hya.

“This is a tricky is­sue for the BJP since there is a de­mand to pass a law in Par­lia­ment, but the party is of the view that it will wait for the Supreme Court ver­dict. We will have to bal­ance the de­mand of the peo­ple and the on­go­ing le­gal bat­tle,” said the BJP leader.

@Omarab­dul­lah

The mea­sured, ma­ture re­sponse of Rahul’s to the SP-BSP an­nounce­ment makes a wel­come change from the ego driven blus­ter that usu­ally drives politi­cians’ re­sponses.

@Kirenri­jiju

(On re­ported protests by Con­gress work­ers against screen­ing of ‘The Ac­ci­den­tal Prime Min­is­ter’) Imag­ine, if these were done by BJP work­ers, In­dia would have be­come the most in­tol­er­ant coun­try in the world!

@Kapilsibal

Modiji says that in 2019 peo­ple to choose be­tween: Sta­bil­ity and In­sta­bil­ity. You are wrong Modiji. The choice is be­tween: Abil­ity and In­abil­ity.

RA­JESH KU­MAR/HT

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