BJP president Amit Shah is undertaking a 95-day all-India tour during which he will strategise on ways to win the 2019 Lok Sabha election, with focus on clinching the 120 seats where the party had lost in 2014.
Additional travels that may crop up between 25 April and 25 September are not accounted for, and will be exclusive of the planned itinerary of the BJP president.
His odyssey clocking over 88,000 km was kickstarted by a visit to Naxalbari in West Bengal, a small village known as the motherland of the Naxalite movement in India. Shah held a meeting of BJP workers in booth number 93 of the Naxalbari Assembly constituency at the house of the party's only panchayat member in the area — Sadhana Mandal — to mark the start of his Vistar Yatra.
Shah also visited the restive state of Jammu and Kashmir amid speculations of some political turmoil rocking the BJP-PDP alliance, on Sunday.
Shah told reporters he would spend one to three days in each of the states, depending on their electoral significance. The states have been divided into three categories in accordance with their electoral importance. His itinerary is packed full to the brim so much so that the BJP president may even have to miss the swearing-in ceremony of the next President of India scheduled on 25 July. Within a span of five months, Shah is expectd to cover almost 100,000 km — approximately 20,000 km each month
"We have also set a target of (winning) 120 seats where we had lost in 2014. My tour will focus on taking stock of our organisational strength, and further expansion of ideology and electoral appeal across the country," he said.
Shah is particularly focusing on states like West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana and Kerala. The BJP had managed to win just four Lok Sabha seats out of the 102 in these states in the 2014 election.
He also hinted at a reshuffle within the party as several office-bearers are now serving as ministers in the Uttar Pradesh government.
Shah downplayed reported concern among some BJP allies over the saffron party's expansion plans, saying it is his job to ensure growth of the outfit everywhere, but added that the 120 seats targetted by him did not include those won by other NDA constituents.
The party has graded the states into A, B and C category in order of their electoral significance.
Shah's voyage will end by 25 September, the 101th birth anniversary of Jana Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay. The BJP has roped in around 3.52 lakh volunteers who would work full-time for the party to plan the celebrations.
It has also enrolled another 600 full-timers, Shah said. He said each full-timer will be assigned one Lok Sabha seat where he would supervise strengthening of the party till 2019 election. There would be one more tasked with the overall electoral responsibility of groups of five constituencies each where the party has traditionally been weak.
The party, he said, would also reach out to 11 crore members enrolled during the 2015-16 drive, and seek to involve them in booth-level activities.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: May 05, 2017 11:54 AM