Port Wings, 09 Jan 2019:
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi criss-crossing India with public rallies in the last few days, election campaign for May 2019 General Elections unofficial begins in the country.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a task cut out for him as Bharatiya Janata Party has big plans to win back to power with bang.
The recent defeat in the Hindi-heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, has put additional pressure on BJP to revisit its strategy for Lok Sabha Election.
Though the formal election campaign could start only in March, Modi started his campaign with special interview to news agency ANI on 1 January.
And the interview, which is intended to project a reenergised BJP party that is ever-ready to face to 2019 test, indeed proved as a starting or rallying point for the cadres.
The Election Commission of India may announce the dates for the Lok Sabha elections by the first week of March. That, in effect, means Modi has not more than 50 days left to usher in new initiatives before the model code of conduct kicks in. It may be noted that in 2014, ECI announced the poll dates on 5 March.
Uttar Pradesh state is said to be the road to Delhi for political parties and it has 80 seats in the Parliament. From here, BJP had won 71 seats in 2014. Bit touching the same number from the state will be an uphill task. There are clear indications that alliance between regional satraps –the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), could dent BJP’s chances here.
In addition, BJP is expected to be on the back foot in the three states where they have lost in recent assembly elections.
The BJP’s ‘Mission 123’ must been seen from this angle. Mission 123 is a plan aimed at winning as many seats as possible in the 123 Lok Sabha seats that the BJP could not win in 2014 despite the ‘Modi wave’.
These 123 seats include 77 in West Bengal, Assam and Odisha — of which the BJP won just 10 in 2014.
West Bengal, with 42 Parliament seats, presents a huge potential for the BJP though the odds are stacked against it by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Assam, along with the entire Northeast, accounts for 25 Lok Sabha seats. In 2014, the BJP won eight of the 25 seats. In the upcoming general elections the BJP is targeting 18 to 21 seats from the region.
Given things as it stands now, it has to be seen how the BJP will replicate its 2014 success this time in the north, west and central India.