Eyeing to wrest power in country’s most populous state, the BJP may take a crucial call on declaring its chief ministerial candidate for the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls at its national executive meeting due to be held here next week. BJP’s thumping victory in 2014 General Elections was also credited to its remarkable performance in UP where it bagged whopping 71 seats out of 80.
BJP president Amit Shah has already made its intent clear that party is seeking to clinch a big victory in UP. A win will firmly establish BJP’s all-round political authority, as well as it will be a huge fillip for the Modi government at the Centre.
“A decision may be taken at the national executive meeting on June 12-13 as to whether or not the party will be going to the UP assembly polls with a chief ministerial candidate,” BJP national vice president Om Prakash Mathur said.
“Initially the plan was to fight the elections on the plank of the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the option of declaring a CM candidate has also been kept open,” Mathur told reporters.
Union Home minister Rajnath Singh was the last BJP Chief Minister who exited office in March 2002. Post 2002 Assembly polls, it has been a downslide for the BJP in a state which sends 80 MPs to Lok Sabha.
While its numbers in Assembly kept falling with each successive polls – 88 in 2002, 51 in 2007, and 47 in 2012 – its Lok Sabha performance too suffered before it got resurrected in 2014. The party could barely cling on to 10 seats in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
With positive performances in just concluded polls, especially winning Assam polls, BJP now hopes to repeat its Lok Sabha performance in Vidhan Sabha polls.
“BJP is keen to repeat in 2017 its handsome performance during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when we contested 78 out of 80 seats in the state and won 71. Assembly polls in UP will obviously be the main focus of the two-day meeting though other issues concerning the party will also be discussed,” Om Mathur, who is also in-charge of party affairs in UP told the press.
He, however, declined to comment when asked about names of leaders that might be doing round for the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
The BJP national executive meeting, due to be held next week, will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah, party Chief Ministers and others prominent leaders.
(With inputs from the Agencies)