BJP is lining up series of rallies, likely to start December-end, to be addressed by Modi. These rallies will be targeted at clusters of parliamentary seats.
New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah has conceded that the recent Assembly election results may have “some impact” on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, which he described as “the battle of Panipat” that should not be lost to “foreigners”.
At an eight-hour-long marathon meeting with national office-bearers on Thursday, the first after the party lost three key states in the Hindi heartland — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — Shah was almost philosophical as he told them: “The fact remains that one will win and others will lose.
“There will be some impact of results on the Lok Sabha polls but to overcome that we need to work harder. Only hard work can change the narrative that shaped people’s perception in elections. So you can do more work that has been mentioned in the list of 23 tasks given to you but you cannot undertake fewer tasks than that,” a BJP functionary quoted Shah as telling the office-bearers.
‘Can’t lose 2019 battle to foreigners’
“Marathas had been winning state after state for years. However, it is in the battle of Panipat that they lost. It was this loss that paved the way for foreigners to enter India. 2019 is the battle of Panipat for us which we can’t lose to foreigners,” Shah said, according to the functionary.
The meeting witnessed no other reference to the Assembly election verdict. Senior leaders who were present said the reason for the party’s loss “hung in the air” as everyone chose to skip it.
“Many of us were expecting that Shah would tell us what the party did or didn’t do. But we were told not to focus on the defeat and look ahead instead,” said another party office-bearer.
At the parliamentary party meeting earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose not to make his customary address. “All we were told was to read Atal Bihari Vajpayee [books and speeches] ten minutes every day and to arrange for programmes to celebrate the birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister,” said a BJP MP.
Modi rally blitz soon
The BJP is lining up a series of rallies to be addressed by Modi across the country. The rallies, likely to start by December-end, will be targeted at clusters of parliamentary seats.
“There is a cluster of 120 seats where the party has never won and then the rest 423 seats. These seats will be divided into sub-clusters and the PM will hold rallies accordingly,” a source said.
To woo the influencers, the party has planned an intellectual meet in every parliamentary constituency from 15 January to 10 February. Before this, the party national council will take place on 11 and 12 January.
Crucial morcha and OBC meets
The BJP has also arranged meetings of its morchas in several states. While its yuva morcha meet is scheduled for 15-16 December in the national capital, its mahila morcha will meet on 21-22 December in Ahmedabad.
The party will hold meetings of its Scheduled Caste morcha on 19-20 January in Nagpur, minority morcha on 31 January-1 February in Delhi and Scheduled Tribe morcha on 2-3 February in Bhubaneswar.
The party has planned a massive rally of OBC leaders on 15-16 February in Patna to counter any damage that the exit of its former ally, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party chief Upendra Kushwaha, may have done in Bihar, which has a significant OBC votebank.
These will be followed by a BJP Kisan Morcha meet in Uttar Pradesh on 21-22 February.
All these meetings will be crucial in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.