BJP looks to counter 'Mahagathbandhan'

BJP looks to counter 'Mahagathbandhan'

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during the State BJP Working Committee meeting in Meerut on Saturday. PTI

The BJP plans to counter the proposed 'Mahagathbandhan' (a grand alliance of Opposition parties) in Uttar Pradesh through 'hindutva' and by wooing Dalits.

The two-day meeting of the party's state executive committee which concluded in Meerut on Sunday discussed a strategy to counter a possible Opposition alliance in Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha.

At the meeting, which also saw the attendance of BJP national president Amit Shah, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, it was decided that the party workers should fan out in districts and villages and apprise people about the developmental projects undertaken by the NDA government.

''It was also decided to send across a message that we have not abandoned our core issues, including the Ram Temple,'' said a senior state BJP leader while speaking to DH from Meerut.

The assurance assumes significance in the wake of voices of protest coming from a section of saints in Ayodhya over the issue.

The speakers, including Adityanath, referred to the ongoing 'kanwar yatra' (pilgrimage by Lord Shiva's devotees during the Hindu month of Shravana) and highlighted the lifting of the ban on DJs during the yatra.

''Our rivals had imposed restrictions on the devotees during the yatra... We removed them,'' Adityanath said at the meeting.

He also extensively referred to Dalit icon B R Ambedkar and said that the BJP government had done more to the community than those who claimed to be their well wishers.

According to BJP sources, Amit Shah while addressing the Uttar Pradesh MPs and MLAs on Sunday asked them not to be ''perturbed'' by the possible grand alliance.

He also hinted that the saffron party would make NRC (National Register for Citizens) an issue in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

''We will ensure that all Bangladeshi infiltrators are driven out of the country,'' Shah said during his address.

The saffron party also set an ambitious target of winning 74 seats in the state in the next Lok Sabha polls. The party had won 73 seats in 2014 with its alliance partner Apna Dal.

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