‘No tension, meticulous strategy in place to win 370 Lok Sabha seats’ : The Tribune India

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‘No tension, meticulous strategy in place to win 370 Lok Sabha seats’

Tarun Chugh, BJP national general secretary

‘No tension, meticulous strategy in place to win 370 Lok Sabha seats’

Tarun Chugh, BJP national general secretary

Tasked with key responsibilities of Telangana, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and the Scheduled Caste wing, BJP’s national general secretary Tarun Chugh is also closely involved with the 2024 Lok Sabha election planning, government scheme beneficiary outreach and tours of star campaigners led by PM Narendra Modi. Hailing from Amritsar, Chugh, who is part of the BJP’s panel that oversaw strategy for the 160 weak LS segments that the party either lost or won marginally in 2019, spoke to Aditi Tandon on a range of issues in the middle of the 18th General Election cycle. Excerpts:

Decision to go it alone in Punjab based on comprehensive feedback from people across various sections of society

Your assessment of BJP and NDA prospects after two phases?

The ground reports are very encouraging and the two phases have only reaffirmed the popular sentiment that the BJP will touch a historic number this time. We are confident about our electoral strategy and grassroots engagement and will win with an overwhelming majority.

How about BJP’s weak spots Kerala and Tamil Nadu?

The BJP has been formulating diverse strategies to make inroads into the South and there are bound to be positive results. In 2019, the BJP was the leading party in the South. This time, our vote share will go up, giving a big push to the number of seats. PM Modi’s vision of development has impacted voters’ minds in the region and we have focused on local issues and Centre’s schemes to appeal to the voters.

Why has BJP’s campaign message wavered from “Modi ki guarantee” to wealth redistribution and inheritance tax?

“Modi Ki Guarantee” and “Viksit Bharat” symbolise PM’s unwavering commitment to the common person’s aspirations.... However, the Congress has made unrealistic commitments in its manifesto. Their promises are impractical and misleading. Their desperate attempts to divert voters through illogical advocacy of wealth redistribution and inheritance tax lead the nation and our people nowhere. These statements are regressive. The Congress’ appeasement has to be called out. People are aligned with the PM’s development agenda and will reject promises made by the Congress.

Opposition says BJP’s change of campaign tack signals tension.

There is no tension within the BJP regarding the campaign. The party views a dynamic campaign approach as a response to the evolving political landscape rather than a sign of tension. We are highlighting how the PM has transformed the economic and political scenario of the country. Instead, tension is growing in the Congress and the INDI group as a crushing defeat awaits them.

BJP is an ideological organisation. What explains the ongoing influx of leaders?

The BJP’s ideology resonates with leaders across the political spectrum, resulting in an influx of those who align with the party’s vision for our country and its ideology. The BJP warmly welcomes all those who believe in the PM’s leadership and national vision for developed India.

Your performance peaked in the 2019 LS poll; what’s the maths behind 370 seats?

A meticulously devised strategy is in place to secure 370 seats. It involves analysing voting patterns, demographic shifts, campaign strategies, coalition dynamics, and other pertinent factors. The BJP aims to secure 370 seats by consolidating its traditional strongholds, expanding its influence to new territories and capitalising on the achievements of the Centre. We will not only maintain our current strongholds but also make significant headway in the regions where we previously lacked support.

What is the BJP’s calculation behind going alone in Punjab?

The decision is a strategic one and informed by comprehensive feedback from people across various sections of society. This approach enables the BJP to offer a distinct alternative to the electorate and concentrate on Punjab-specific issues. With an independent run, we aim to tackle future challenges of the state, particularly those concerning youth and farmers. Recent trends indicate a surprising surge in support for the BJP in rural areas.

How many seats are you expecting in Punjab and who’s your main rival here?

Our focus in Punjab is on substantially increasing the seat count compared to previous elections. Regional parties and the current state government are the main rivals.

Your candidates are facing protests by farmers in Punjab.

Protest is a democratic right, but disrupting the campaign of any party is against the model code of conduct, as canvassing is also a democratic right of candidates. The BJP understands farmers’ grievances and is committed to working towards solutions through schemes and dialogue. We value farmers’ contribution to national food security and prosperity. Let’s engage constructively to find common ground for a better future for all.

Why has the BJP, a dominant force in the North, struggled in Punjab?

Punjab has a unique political landscape shaped by its history, culture, and regional identity. The state has a strong tradition of regional parties. The BJP is working to overcome historical political dynamics and is making efforts to connect with the electorate on regional issues. We recognise the challenges and are making concerted efforts to address them. The party aims to build stronger grassroots connections and bridge the urban-rural divide. Overcoming historical political dynamics and winning the trust of Punjab’s diverse electorate is an ongoing process.

You are being accused of poaching leaders in Punjab?

The BJP believes in strengthening democracy by providing a platform for leaders who share our vision, regardless of their previous affiliations. Personalities from various parties and different walks of life have been joining the BJP reposing faith in the PM’s guarantee of development, welfare policies and nationalist ideology. We welcome all those who believe in PM’s “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” call.

#BJP #Jammu #Kashmir #Ladakh #Lok Sabha #Narendra Modi #Tarun Chugh #Telangana

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