New Delhi: Seeking its seventh consecutive term in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying hard to improve its performance in the forthcoming state Assembly polls. The party has finalised a strategy to improve its reach and vote count, leading to a better seat tally in the elections likely to be held later this year.
This has been necessitated after instructions from the top central leadership of the BJP which wants to avoid a 2017-like scenario wherein the party could only secure 99 seats, its lowest ever show in two decades, slipping to two digits in the 182-member assembly.
Though the BJP's tally finally rose to 111 due to bypolls that were necessitated after the resignation of Congress MLAs.
Party sources stated that the saffron unit will aim to garner voters amongst additional communities, which aren't considered its stronghold in an effort to improve its reach.
As a part of this outreach programme, the BJP will aim to garner more votes from the marginalised Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. While the SC community is about 7%, the ST community has about 15% of the population of the state.
Together, these communities can affect the outcome of polls in over 100 Assembly seats. Hence the requirement for a targeted approach, a senior leader said.
The 2017 performance by the state unit of the BJP wasn’t appreciated by its central leadership, forcing the top two, PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, to take charge of the situation and workers being instructed to reach out to voters well in time to avoid mistakes of past polls.
The two senior leaders and BJP chief JP Nadda have been visiting Gujarat regularly over the past several years and regularly seek information and strategize with local leaders to ensure a sweep for the saffron unit.
In fact, over the past several years the party has organised big ticket events in Gujarat with the premier one being the hosting of US President Donald Trump in the state by PM Modi.
Importance of Gujarat for BJP
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's irrefutable Gujarat connection, the BJP will leave no stone unturned to storm back to power in the state. And the campaign has already "unofficially" begun in the state with the top two PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah being in Gujarat over the past few days.
While the party hopes to maintain its development and infrastructure focus, with a score of these projects being inaugurated by PM Modi, the saffron party has also ensured that its reach amongst traditional voters continues.
The party is also hopeful that its traditional voters like the business and trading community and urban voters would continue to back the BJP government and provide it with a clear mandate again.
With the Congress entering the contest for the first time without its tallest leader from the state Late Ahmad Patel and Aam Aadmi Party also in the fray, the BJP hopes it would also work in the saffron party's favour to emerge stronger in the state, by eating into the Congress vote.
Aiming to end any anti-incumbency against the ruling government, the BJP has already changed its Chief Minister with Bhupendra Patel replacing Vijay Rupani. Moreover, the party feels that Modi Magic will work wonders again and bring the party back to power in Gujarat for an unprecedented seventh term.