Concentrate on alliance with Shiv Sena: Modi to state BJP

At a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are hopeful of an alliance with Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), party’s newly appointed campaign committee chief Narendra Modi sang a different tune.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi waves at his supporters outside the domestic airport yesterday. Pic/Bipin Kokate

Since we are in alliance with the Shiv Sena and Republican Party of India-Athavale (RPI-A), concentrate on this old alliance, Gujarat chief minister told his party men without closing the doors for a possible coalition with the MNS in the future. “We can think of taking MNS help if need arises,” he added.

Addressing senior party leaders in a meeting held at Rangsharda in Bandra (East) yesterday, Modi gave a few lessons on devising a strategy for the upcoming general elections. Party general secretary and state in-charge Rajiv Pratap Rudy, state unit chief Devendra Fadnavis, city BJP chief Ashish Shelar, senior leaders Gopinath Munde and Prakash Javadekar were among the close group of 25 leaders who attended the meeting.

A senior leader said after assessing the party’s current position from the speeches made by other leaders during the meeting, Modi spoke on strategy to contest elections. He gave a few details of how the BJP fought elections in Gujarat and a few tips on appointing booth chiefs, campaign committees at local level, inputs for campaigns and taking up local as well as issues that hit the chord of electorate.

“We must concentrate on four to five important issues that the UPA and the Congress in particular will find it tough to answer. Taking up different issues at one go may not work, as it will confuse people,” said Modi, asking his party men to concentrate on the urban middle class, the lower middle class and the urban poor.

“We always focus on people who live in slums or who live in high-rises. The new urban middle class that has shifted in recent years from lower strata of society to middle class has different issues. This is a big chunk among the voters and we need to address issues concerning them,” revealed a senior party leader.

These days effective usage of YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp and BBM is on the rise. The younger generation from rural as well as urban areas makes use of social media where opinions about the UPA government and its leaders are available with illustrations. Similarly, the state BJP unit can assess how these mediums can be used to create opinion about the state leadership of the ruling parties, he said.

Modi referred to the Lok Sabha election campaigns and results of 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2004 and 2009 general elections and took review of the seats currently held by the BJP in the state and those it won with wafer-thin margin or the ones that were with the BJP for years but lost to Congress or NCP over the last few elections.

Advising the state leaders, Modi said the state unit should decide and recommend candidates in advance so that they can start the work much before than others. It will help the candidates as well as the party to remain focused. “You must work like a swayamsevak (volunteer) to take out party’s message to masses, to find out bogus voters registration and points against the government,” he said. 

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