BJP not happily placed in 152 of 282 seats it had annexed in 2014: Internal survey

Strategist-in-chief Amit Shah looking for ways to make good the likely losses by winning more seats from WB, Telangana, Odisha and AP, where the BJP had fared badly

New Delhi: The results of an internal survey have come as a shocker for the ruling BJP. The BJP survey shows that of the 282 seats the party had won in 2014, there is a strong anti-incumbency sentiment in at least 152 Parliamentary constituencies. According to highly-placed sources in the BJP, the party had commissioned an internal survey on all the seats it had won in 2014. According to a BJP strategist, the survey was completed just before Gujarat went to the polls last year.

Bhaskar has access to the BJP survey report

Dainik Bhaskar has access to the report of the survey. Sources say that as a matter of abundant precaution, the party has started work on the second phase of the survey. In this phase, alternative candidates and measures to improve the party’s prospects in constituencies where it is facing anti-incumbency will be explored.

For the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Modi-Shah duo may choose to go for the new India-young India electoral template.

Fresh faces may do the trick

In the municipal elections in Delhi, the party’s experiment of fielding new and young faces instead of the incumbent councillors had paid dividends. Likewise, in the last few assembly elections, the party had denied tickets to sitting legislators in constituencies where it was facing an anti-incumbency wave. And this strategy too had paid off.

Third line of leadership

The BJP high command and the Sangh Parivar have now started working on a long-term strategy for building a third line of leadership. The strategy was discussed at a meeting of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and top Sangh leader Bhaiyaji Joshi with party president Amit Shah at Ujjain recently. Now the BJP has decided to adopt some stringent criteria for the 2019 elections. Discussions are on whether candidates older than 75 years will be considered for candidacy.

75-plus yardstick is adopted

If the party decided to deny tickets to 75-plus leader, it mat affect LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalraj Mishra, Sumitra Mahajan, BC Khanduri, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari etc.

Party mulling fielding Modi from Puri

In 2019, an important part of BJP strategy will be to focus on 105 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal. Despite the Modi wave, the BJP could win only six of the 105 seats in these states. The party has now set its eyes on winning 80 seats from these states in 2019. Except for Odisha, BJP’s organisational structure is weak in the other three states. That is why, Shah’s strategy is to capitalise on Modi’s popularity. It is believed that the BJP is working on the strategy to make Modi contest from Puri Lok Sabha seat along with Varanasi in 2019.

On April 15, 2017, when the Prime Minister met the party’s Odisha unit leaders at the BJP’s national executive meeting, they proposed that Modi should contest from Puri. Modi’s rally at Cuttack to celebrate four years of the BJP government was also linked to this.

Nothing decided thus far: Shah

When Amit Shah was asked about this, he said that the party has not decided this way or that thus far. The Prime Minister visiting a certain place should not be construed as him contesting elections from there.

What is the strategy?

According to sources, Shah has been working for the past three months on the strategy to increase the party’s seats tally in Odisha, Andhra, Telangana and West Bengal. The party feels that there is an anti-incumbency mood against Naveen Patnaik of Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, Mamata Banerjee of TMC in West Bengal, Chandrababu Naidu of TDP in Andhra Pradesh and TRS’ KK Chandrashekhar Rao in Telangana, which can be used to the party’s advantage.

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