- BJP chief Amit Shah will meet all 71 lawmakers from the state today
- On Sunday, plan for next year's assembly polls in 5 state was discussed
- However, the focus remained on high-stake UP elections
The BJP has begun its quest for Uttar Pradesh. On Monday, day two of its conclave - the real exercise of strategising for the state assembly polls early next year - will begin with a meeting called by party chief Amit Shah of all 71 lawmakers in the state, which will also include Prime Minister Narendra Modi who represents Varanasi.
The BJP's national conclave on Sunday, started discussing game plan for the coming elections in five states, but the emphasis remains on Uttar Pradesh. PM Modi, focusing on the state, had celebrated the BJP government's two years in power in Saharanpur. 'Stand-Up India' was launched in Noida, and 'Ujjwala' scheme in Ballia. Today he asked his party's top leaders not to be complacent and innovate for the new political situation.
But the BJP needs to do much more than innovate to win Uttar Pradesh. The party has no clear vote bank in the state. To break the hold of the big two big names in the state - Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati - the BJP needs to crack its caste matrix.
In 2014, the BJP allegedly succeeded due to polarisation in the wake of Muzaffarnagar riots and PM Modi's image.
Addressing the conclave on Sunday, Amit Shah flagged Kairana, where Hindus were being forced to migrate as per claims of a party legislator.
Addressing a press conference at the conclave, the BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that Mr Shah had expressed concerns over Kairana. "The incidents are serious," Mr Prasad said, but he also added that the BJP "rejects charges that we polarise politics".
The BJP will also have to see if the 'Modi Magic' would work and whether to field a chief ministerial candidate or not, after losing Bihar. In Assam, the party won after projecting Sarbananda Sonowal as its CM candidate.
But picking a face in UP will be tough, as a leader has to be a caste balancing act. The BJP does not have a strong Backward, Dalit or Upper Caste face. Their only choice Rajnath Singh has refused to take the UP challenge. Names of leaders like Varun Gandhi and Smriti Irani are doing the rounds. Hoardings projecting Varun Gandhi in the state have been put up by the supporters of the BJP especially due to the buzz that the Congress may field a Gandhi.
But the BJP has denied an official backing to these hoardings. BJP National Secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said," Hoarding and posters are not barometers of popularity."
Mr Prasad also said that such decisions are not taken at meets like the national executive.
There's a sense of urgency now in the party as the elections in Uttar Pradesh are just 8 months away. The top brass is ensuring the focus remains on the state and its cadres remain active.