BJP re-draws strategy for UP elections in 'Jatland'

BJP re-draws UP elections strategy in 'Jatland' after farm laws repeal

BJP leaders from the region admitted that they found it difficult to enter the 'Jat' dominated villages in the region while the farmers' protests were going on

BJP had swept the western UP region in the 2017 Assembly polls, riding on sharp polarisation prompted by the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots. Credit: AFP File Photo

Apparently realising that the support of the farmers was crucial if it were to nurture hopes of forming the next government in the state, the BJP has decided to redraw its electoral strategy for the 'Jat' dominated western Uttar Pradesh.

According to BJP sources here, the party leadership has directed its district office bearers and senior leaders from the region to reach out to the farmer leaders and persuade them to support the saffron party in the forthcoming assembly elections due in March next year.

BJP's farmer cell, took out a tractor rally in different parts in the western region a few days back during which the leaders hailed prime minister Narendra Modi for scrapping the three farm laws and listed the initiatives undertaken by the state government for the benefit of farmers.

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"Repeal of the farm laws will give a big boost to our electoral fortunes in the western UP region.....we have been able to douse the anger and now we are certain that they will come back to our fold," Satyendra Bharala, the regional general secretary of BJP Kisan Morcha, said.

Bharala claimed that a large number of farmers had participated in the tractor rally undertaken by the saffron party in western districts of the state.

The party may also take comfort from Bharitya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Naresh Tikait's remarks that the main demands of the farmers have been accepted and they might think of calling off their agitation.

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BJP leaders from the region admitted that they found it difficult to enter the 'Jat' dominated villages in the region while the farmers' protests were going on. In fact, the BJP leaders were chased away by angry farmers at some places when they tried to speak to them. "Now we can go there as the government has scrapped the farm laws," another senior BJP leader from the region said.

BJP had swept the western UP region in the 2017 Assembly polls, riding on sharp polarisation prompted by the 2013 Muzaffarnagar communal riots which claimed the lives of 60 people and displaced thousands more. The riots broke the unity between the 'Jats' and Muslims, who earlier used to support the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), a predominantly 'Jat' outfit.

RLD, which has tied up with the Samajwadi Party (SP), and other opposition parties had lent support to the protesting farmers and hoped to wean them away from the saffron party. Bharitya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait has publicly stated that he will campaign against the BJP in the forthcoming polls.

It remains to be seen if the BJP's new strategy will fetch them the votes of the farmers.

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