New Delhi: Two years before the next general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has set up a four-member committee to draw up a strategy to win over 74,000 polling booths where the party had performed poorly during the 2019 polls.
Called the National Task Force, the panel has been asked to plan ways to strengthen the party in booths where it is organisationally weak, sources told ThePrint.
The four committee members are BJP national vice-presidents Baijayant Panda and Dilip Ghosh, national general secretary C.T. Ravi, and Lal Singh Arya. national president of the party’s Scheduled Caste Morcha (wing), sources said.
According to a senior BJP leader, the panel, which was set up a month ago and is headed by Panda, decided the party should conduct a booth empowerment programme.
Ghosh confirmed the development to ThePrint, saying the panel’s first meeting was held Monday.
“We will now have to draw up a strategy for the 74,000 booths that have been identified and are considered weak,” Ghosh said. “Efforts will be made to ensure they are strengthened further. At the same time, we will now start touring the states where these booths are located and ensure all gaps are filled before the 2024 elections.”
The aim, a senior BJP leader said, is to ensure that the party’s presence is felt in all booths where it is weak.
The BJP had won 303 seats in the 2019 general elections.
Identifying the problem
The committee, sources in the BJP said, was asked not only to identify the booths but also to understand why the party had performed poorly there.
A senior leader said a large number of these booths are in states where the BJP is not in power, such as West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
“Some of these booths are also dominated by the minorities and hence we’ve not been able to perform well,” the leader said.
Sources said the party will focus on Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, which will hold assembly elections this year, and Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Tripura and Madhya Pradesh, which will hold them next year.
BJP’s state units will be briefed about the committee’s decisions and party workers will be trained in voter outreach, sources said.
The development comes a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a parliamentary party meeting, said assembly election results would have a bearing on the 2024 general elections. He asked BJP MPs at the March meeting to identify at least 100 booths in their Lok Sabha constituency where the party’s performance was comparatively weak.
“The booths identified include all MP and MLA seats (we’d won),” a senior party leader said. “They include the 100 (Lok Sabha) seats that we didn’t win. The idea is to not only retain all the booths we had won last time but to win all those that we lost the last time,” the leader said.
(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)