Maharashtra, Haryana Elections: BJP’s Campaign To Focus On National Issues
Supporters wave Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) party flags outside the party’s state office in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Maharashtra, Haryana Elections: BJP’s Campaign To Focus On National Issues


As the Bharatiya Janata Party gives final shape to campaign blitzkrieg in Maharashtra and Haryana, party leaders said national issues like nullification of Article 370, Modi government’s “anti-corruption” drive and the saffron push for nationwide National Registry of Citizens will be among their top planks.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may address around 10 rallies in Maharashtra and four to five in Haryana while BJP president and Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to speak at twice these numbers of public meetings in the two states heading to assembly polls on Oct. 21.

These numbers are provisional and may change depending on the needs of campaign, a party leader said.

BJP sources said the feedback received by the party on the Union government’s decision to end Jammu & Kashmir special status is very encouraging and people also look “favourably” at its push for action against big names, many of them opposition leaders, allegedly involved in corruption.

The Opposition has termed the action as “political vendetta”.

A BJP leader said opposition parties like the Congress are completely “defensive” on these matters, noting that many of its leaders even backed the government's decision on Article 370 despite their party leadership's stand against it due to popular support to the move.

Top BJP brass including Modi and Shah have exuded confidence about the party retaining power in both the states.

The party believes that Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis enjoy a “clean” image and have run “honest and competent” dispensations.

By giving the saffron campaign an overarching theme powered by national issues, the BJP hopes to come back to power with a bigger mandate.

The BJP has set a target of winning over 200 seats in 288-member Maharashtra assembly with its allies, Shiv Sena and some small parties, while 75 on its own in 90-member Haryana assembly.

It had won 122 and 47 seats on its own in the two states respectively in 2014.

The party believes that a good show in the two states will also help it set the campaign pitch in the Jharkhand and Delhi assembly polls, two states, especially the national capital, where its rivals will work to make the elections about local issues.

Despite being seen by political watchers as favourites to retain power in Maharashtra and Haryana, the BJP leadership is making a determined push to maximise its prospects to send out a signal about its political dominance and deny a disjointed opposition any chance to rally around.

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