BJP sounds a bugle for 2019 Lok Sabha polls

Modi sets an upbeat tone for the coming elections in four state Assemblies and 2019 general elections by giving political theme ‘Ajeya Bharat-Atal Bhajpa,’ writes MUDIT MATHUR

There are challenging policy issues boggling the mind of the masses due to growing price rise, burning the deep hole into the pockets of common man mostly due to its consequential overall impact on their monthly budget due to erratic hike in petroleum products; farmers facing worst ever agrarian crisis resulting rise in suicides cases of debt-ridden farmers and outburst of upper caste resistance to reservation and amendments to the SC\ST Act.

Amid all these developments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set an upbeat tone for the coming elections in four state Assemblies and 2019 general elections by giving political theme — “Ajeya Bharat-Atal Bhajpa.”

The move, it seems, is aimed at thriving on the idea of the party’s nationalism and legacy left behind by liberal stalwart and former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The election campaign would be led by Modi-Shah duo that brought the graph of party at all-time high. Shah’s tenure as BJP chief and his team has been extended till 2019.

Taking potshots on Congress efforts to form grand alliance to give a united fight to BJP, Modi said, “They (opposition parties) could not stand each other, today they are forced to hug each other. We want development with a huma face, equality with humanity.” He shared the podium with his trusted lieutenant Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah and old guard and one of the party’s founders Lal Krishna Advani. Overzealous by performance of BJP in various states since 2014, party President Amit Shah said, “We will win 2019 polls and after 2019 victory, nobody will be able to replace us for next the 50 years.”

Focusing his government’s achievements, the prime minister said ten crore people will be benefited from the coverage of ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme. He was referring to recently conceived new flagship scheme of affordable healthcare expanding network of more doctors and medical colleges for the people. “We will strengthen each polling booth, win each nine crore workers and 22 crore people will map the entire nation. We have not been at rest since 2014,” Modi told his top party cadre.

“I am from Gujarat, undefeated for 31 years. It is the same place from where Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel come from. We have no arrogance of power, we see power as an instrument to improve people’s lives,” he said. “We have done great work in the past four years. Our performance of 48 months will be judged against their (Congress’) performance of 48 years. They don’t fight o issues, they fight on lies. Their falsehoods must be refuted strongly.”

Discussing future course of action Amit Shah said that we will win 2019 polls and after 2019 polls victory, nobody will be able to remove us for next 50 years. We are not saying this out of egotism but on basis of our work. The Modi Shah duo were addressing recently held two day meet of national executive, top policy making body of Bhartya Janata Party, at Ambedkar International Centre in Delhi. The meeting was attended by national office bearers and state BJP presidents who discussed the party’s preparations ahead of elections in four states and the national election next year.

Launching a blistering attack on the Opposition in his inaugural address, BJP chief Shah said that Modi government is working for “making India” whereas the Congress is working for “breaking India.” he termed the proposed “mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) of the BJP’s rivals is an illusion and myth, and will make no difference to its fortunes.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh moved political resolution endorsing the party’s pledge to build “New India” by 2022, and said “the opposition has neither a leader nor a policy while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most popular leader in the country. The opposition’s plan to defeat the saffron party was a day dream.” “New India’ as proposed in ‘Vision 2022’ will be free of poverty, corruption, terrorism and casteism,” the resolution added.

Supporting the resolution Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said the party is optimistic for return to power with an even bigger majority. “The opposition has no agenda or strategy and they only believe in ‘Modi roko abhiyan’ (Stop Modi),” He added. “Modi government has vision, passion and imagination, and a lot of development work has been done in the last four years under the NDA rule. Internal security has become better and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir has also come down,” he added.

“Atal ji was a Gentle Giant,”Arun Jaitley described him while moving Condolence Motion. He said BJP is committed to the path and ideal set by Vajpayeeji.

Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is gearing up to face upcoming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh said, that the party and state government is working in tune of PM Modi’s vision to double the farm income by 2022. He added that an agriculture resolution was passed during the executive meet. “Modi government has been excellently performing on every front, be it improving irrigation facilities for farmers, interlinking of rivers or providing farmers with the soil health card,” he remarked.

On farmers’ distress, the BJP national executive adopted a resolution reiterating its pro-farmer policies targeted to double their income. It enumerated government’s initiatives to provide Minimum Support Price calculating input cost plus 50 percent as a base to fix minimum support price for their produce. It also described steps and finances provided by the government for various integrated schemes for the benefits of farmers such as trade policy for agricultural development, pradhan mantri fasal BimaYojna, Soil Health Card, Fertilizers, Irrigation, Agricultural credit, Employment Generation in Rural Areas, Livestock Development, Green Energy, Operation Green, White Revolution (dairy development) and Blue Revolution(fisheries development). Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani revealed that Modi will unveil the world’s biggest statue, ‘Statue of Unity’, of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel on the occasion of his coming birth anniversary on 31st, October.

“BJP’s stoic silence on real issues like petro hike, inflation, falling value of Rupee, failing economy and Rafale Scam has once again proved its indifference to sufferings of people,” commented congress party spoke person Randeep Singh Surjewala on twitter. Attacking on policy issues Surjewala said, “BJP now stands for -‘Break, Jam and Perish’! ‘Breaking’ the backbone of India’s MSME’s and shopkeepers through flawed GST; ‘Jamming’ the economy through Demonetisation disaster; ‘Perish’ the future of youth and farmers.”

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati had reacted the day upper castes organised “Bharat Band” terming it a BJP sponsored affair targeted mostly in the states where assembly elections are going to take place. She took a clear stand that her government gave clear directions during her rule that there should not be any misuse of this enactment legislated to protect atrocities on poor and downtrodden people. It is the duty of the government of the day to check its misuse.

The BJP meeting was convened after a year as against the party’s constitutional requirement of holding one in every three months while the national council hasn’t met even once in the last two years. The people were anxiously expecting to know about the structural changes in policies to bring down of high petrol and diesel prices into their monthly budgets but the two day meet did not find inspiring way for their concerns.

The BJP is considered to be a party of upper castes with the overall dominance of Brahmins and Rajput leaders at its helm of affairs. The last general elections witnessed excellent mastery of Amit Shah’s caste engineering to attract alienated caste leaders from Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party into his fold. The neglected second line leadership of other political parties fetched rich dividends for BJP in terms of winning 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 state assembly elections. Perhaps it was the dilemma why it avoided evolving participatory approach to impending crises points at a public platform having divergent views and interests. Upper caste resistance to reservation and amendments to the SC\ST Act has been contentious issue as many BJP stalwarts were opposed the manner such sensitive matter was dealt with.

The deferment of organisational elections till after the 2019 polls and it appears that the top leaders and core strategist would be using some other modus operandi to scuttle ongoing efforts of opposition unity for a grand alliance as it appears to be uncomfortable proposition for 2019 general elections.