BJP to brainstorm on expanding base in Odisha at natl exec meet

Bhubaneswar, April 13:

The BJP’s two-day national executive meeting, beginning here on Saturday, will chalk out a strategy to strengthen the party’s base in newer areas, especially the eastern and southeast coastal region, with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Despite the Narendra Modi wave in 2014, the BJP couldn’t perform well in the eastern, coastal and the Coromandel region (India’s south-eastern coastal region). The party is also apprehensive that it might not be able to repeat its 2014 Lok Sabha success in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in 2019.

Party strategists feel that there will be some fall in numbers in these states in the 2019 elections.

To offset these losses, the party has decided to venture into new territory.

These areas include 25 seats of Andhra Pradesh, 19 of Kerala, 21 of Odisha, 39 of Tamil Nadu, 17 of Telangana, 42 of West Bengal, 40 of Bihar, 48 of Maharashtra and over a dozen states in other parts of the region.

Interestingly, these parts of the country are headed by regional satraps. They include TRS Chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao, TDP President Chandrababu Naidu, DMK led by K. Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu, TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, JD-U led by Nitish Kumar and RJD led by Lalu Prasad in Bihar and BJD headed by Naveen Patnaik in Odisha.

These areas cover over 200 seats.

Party leaders consider Odisha as a gateway to its entire eastern and coastal area.

The party is also elated about its performance in the Odisha Panchayat polls, where it saw an upsurge in its base – graduating from the third to second spot in the state.

Party leaders selected Odisha for its National Executive meeting, and are anticipating that by 2019 the party would gain top position in the state.

After winning Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and forming governments in Manipur and Goa in the assembly polls, the BJP leaders are targeting Odisha as the next target.

The BJP’s national executive meeting is scheduled to take place on April 15-16 after a gap of 20 years.

The meeting would be attended among others by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari and M. Venkaiah Naidu.

Apart from national executive members, senior BJP leaders like L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, party office bearers, MPs and MLAs would attend the meet.

During the meet, Modi will be felicitated by the National Executive for the party’s overwhelming performance in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly polls.

Modi and Shah will also express their gratitude to the people of Odisha for their support to the BJP in the panchayat elections.

Apart from passing resolutions for the upcoming Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the party’s national executive will decide its strategy to build on its success in Odisha.

Modi is to felicitate members of 16 families associated with the Paika rebellion of 1817 during the meet. Paika rebellion is considered as the first armed mutiny against the British rule in the state. The move is expected to boost the BJP’s standing in the state.

The capital city has been decked up for the meet with roads getting a facelift and hoardings, banners and flags seen all over. (IANS)

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