New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party is apparently fearful of a repeat of the 2018 Assembly polls outcome. The top leadership of the saffron unit went into a six-hour long huddle in the national capital on Sunday to find ways to rectify any problematic areas ahead of the crucial polls.
Days after losing its southern citadel of Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked Chief Ministers and deputy CMs of Bharatiya Janata Party ruled states to tighten up their act ahead of the crucial Assembly elections later this year and 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
There was a sense that the saffron unit was likely to find it very difficult to secure a victory in the forthcoming assembly polls in major states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. Of these, the BJP only has a government in Madhya Pradesh and in 2018 the saffron front was unable to form a government in any of these states. The MP government was formed later after a split in the Congress.
The BJP is desperately trying to avoid the 2018-like embarrassment. Any loss is also likely to negatively affect the morale of the party cadre and leadership heading into the 2024 Lok Sabha election, sources said.
These issues came up for discussion at the crucial Mukhyamantri Parishad meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Ministers and deputy CMs of Bharatiya Janata Party ruled states on Sunday.
The Assembly polls in crucial states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana are scheduled for later this year and will be treated by the saffron front as a semifinal for the Lok Sabha polls next year. The top state leadership has been asked to tighten up their act so that any losses in these states can be offset by securing more seats in the lower house of Parliament next year.
Finding the work of Madhya Pradesh government lacking, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was asked to ensure achievement of 100 percent target for welfare programs. The importance of bringing back the saffron government to power in the state was impressed upon him, sources said.
It is learnt that apart from Chouhan, the Prime Minister also impressed upon CM Manohar Lal Khattar of Haryana, Pushkar Dhami of Uttarakhand and Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis to tighten up their respective acts and ensure good governance.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister is learnt to have expressed displeasure at the inability of the state governments in delivering welfare measures to the people. "PM Modi has asked all CMs and their deputies to ensure that the needy receive the welfare measures meant for them," sources added. It was pointed out that corruption was made into a major electoral issue in Karnataka by the Congress and the BJP was unable to counter it properly due to ineffective leadership and improper implementation of programs meant for the poor and underprivileged, sources said.
The PM is learnt to have urged the BJP-ruled states to ensure last-mile delivery of key government benefits, including the PM Rural Housing scheme, Ayushman Bharat and PM Kisan Samman Nidhi among other flagship schemes.
After the Karnataka Assembly polls victory, the Congress has also been infused with a new-found confidence. With PM Modi seeking a third term in office it will be crucial for BJP-led state governments to deliver on their public welfare promises to ensure the return of the saffron government at the Centre.