Tone up organisation: Shah to office bearers

In caption: BJP chief Amit Shah. DH photo.

A day after the prime minister hosted a dinner for party office bearers and RSS leaders at his official residence in the national capital, BJP chief Amit Shah deliberated with the party's organisational and general secretaries over the strategy ahead.

The BJP faces an uphill task of retaining power in three poll-bound states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

In his half-hour speech at the party's three-day brainstorming meeting in the presence of senior RSS functionaries at Surajkund in the BJP-ruled Haryana, Shah dwelt at length over the challenges and the need for the organisation to galvanise before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

In the meeting, it was felt that the general secretaries in charge of organisation should tour the state and keep "live contact" with ground realities and the status of the organisation.

Organisation secretaries have also been told to send reports to the central leadership if they find some major weakness in the organisation in the states.

In the states not ruled by the BJP, the organisation secretaries were asked to take home the message of the Modi government's performance while in the BJP-ruled states, the thrust has to be on maintaining coordination with the government.

In the wake of alliances being formed up by Opposition parties such as Samajwadi Party, BSP, Congress and RLD in Uttar Pradesh and the NCP-Congress in Maharashtra, Shah laid emphasis on strengthening the organisation to take on the challenge by widening BJP's existing vote base.

There is a view in the party that with the Opposition parties coming together, the BJP cannot hope to repeat its 2014 magic of winning 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats on its own in Uttar Pradesh.

The three-day brain storming took place after two back-to-back meetings of senior RSS and BJP leaders in the national capital in which the functioning of the four years of the Modi government was discussed.

The deliberations also talked about the strategy for the party with less than one year left for next Lok Sabha polls.

Party insiders say that the BJP would lay greater thrust on 300 rural Lok Sabha seats in 2019 polls.

The BJP believes it has been traditionally strong in the cities and needs more focus on rural seats, given the growing debate on the rural-urban divide.

In the Gujarat Assembly polls last year, the Congress had won more seats from the rural areas, bringing the tally of BJP down.

Rural distress has been a challenge for the BJP and it has faced farmer protests in its own backward, in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

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