The BJP is preparing a strategy to win at least 40 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Party sources say the strategy has been devised by Narendra Modi aide Amit Shah, BJP general secretary in-charge of UP.
BJP insiders say that during his recent two-day interaction with party leaders, workers and office-bearers, Shah had drafted a strategy focusing on the seats that the BJP lost with a margin of less than 50,000 votes. There are 11 such seats in UP, and except for one (Farrukhabad), the BJP stood second in all of these. Even out of these, in six seats, the BJP lost by a margin of less than 30,000.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the BJP had won 10 seats with 17.5% vote share in UP. The Congress party’s vote share was not much higher (18.25%) but its tally (21 seats) was more than double the BJP’s.
BJP sources say the party would also concentrate on the 17 Lok Sabha seats reserved for the scheduled castes. In the 2009 parliamentary election, the BJP won just two of these 17 seats (Bansgaon and Agra). However, a closer analysis of past results reveals that the BJP has held most seats out of the rest of the 15 two to three times at some time or the other in the past. Shah is reported to have told party leaders that most of these reserved seats can be won with a combination of a little more effort and an effective strategy to woo the Dalit voters in these constituencies.
Sources say Shah is convinced the party’s tally can be raised if the majority Hindu vote bank can be crystallised by highlighting the party’s commitment to the rebuilding of the Ayodhya Ram temple, and other Hindutva-related issues.
Shah will chair a meeting of the Oudh region in Ayodhya on July 6. Earlier, the meetings of this region were held in Lucknow. This will be the first time that the venue is being changed, insiders say.
Party strategists say the BJP can achieve the target of 40 seats if it wins 15 of the 17 reserved seats, 11 which it had lost in 2009, and manages to retain the 10 seats it won in adverse conditions and with a low vote share in the last election. This adds up to 36. The rest can be mopped up if its Ayodhya movement catches on around election time, insiders believe.