- The BJP is ready for the challenge, Union Health Minister JP Nadda says
- He says the BJP had anticipated the alliance
- The country wants to bring back Narendra Modi as the PM, he adds
The BJP, which is facing the prospect of a tough fight in the upcoming national election in Uttar Pradesh following a tie-up between Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, is ready for the challenge, Union Health Minister JP Nadda said. The party had anticipated the gathbandhan, he added.
Mr Nadda, the BJP's newly appointed election in charge for UP, held a closed-door meeting with top BJP leaders of UP in Lucknow this morning.
"We have all kinds of strategies. Elections is not Physics, it is Chemistry. It is this chemistry with voters that will get us victory in 2019. I am confident of winning 74 seats in UP," the union minister said at a press conference.
The two former UP chief ministers had announced an alliance between the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party on Saturday, putting an end to their decades-old political rivalry.
A poll projection by NDTV's election team based on the combined votes polled by the SP and the BSP in 2014 Lok Sabha results in UP, where the BJP and allies won an astounding 73 out of 80 seats, puts the SP-BSP coalition ahead in the state. If the figures hold true, it will be a major loss for the BJP.
Last year, the party lost three crucial Lok Sabha bypolls in the state, including Gorakhpur -- Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's bastion for decades -- to the Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati team. The new alliance will ensure that the BJP's graph in UP slips further in the absence of "Modi wave", a predominant factor in the last national election.
But the ruling party disagrees.
"The grassroot reality is that the country wants to bring back Modi ji as the Prime Minister. How can the opposition say there is no Modi wave? This is a sign of their insecurity," Mr Nadda said.
The BJP claims it is targeting a vote share of 50 per cent in UP, but hasn't really revealed its strategy.
BJP President Amit Shah had earlier shown the same confidence and declared that the party will get a "bigger mandate than the 2014 one" in the Lok Sabha election.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath will both have an equal footing in the party's campaign in the state.
The central government schemes such as free gas connections and electrification as well as the Yogi Adityanath government's schemes, including its efforts for cow protection, will be hyped up, sources said.
Literature highlighting the achievements of PM Modi and the state government is already being distributed at the Kumbh mela in Prayagraj.
The party, however, concedes it won't be able to do much on the Ram Temple issue till the Supreme Court finishes hearing the case.