Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 15
With Punjab Assembly elections scheduled next year, the BJP on Monday started planning its strategy with Home Minister Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda meeting leaders from the state amid the backdrop of the ongoing agitation against the three central farm laws and the recently stitched Akali-BSP alliance.
State president Ashwani Sharma, general secretary in-charge Dushyant Gautam and Punjab leader and general secretary Tarun Chugh were among those present at the meeting. With SAD stitching an alliance with the BSP, the BJP is now looking at the changed caste equations in the SC/ST-dominated state.
Though the party is expected to contest most seats on its own, sources say it is not averse to alliances with breakaway groups and “high-profile” names and paratroopers from rival parties to take on Congress’ Capt Amarinder Singh. Apparently, “aggrieved leaders” from the Opposition party have also not been ruled out yet.
The saffron party is facing a tough situation in the state that emerged as the epicentre of farmers’ protests in these past months. Heckled and not allowed to hold functions in their constituencies, many party leaders are believed to have voiced concern to the central leadership over the resistance they have been facing when they visit their constituencies. The saffron party also performed poorly in the last municipal polls, winning a handful of seats. In those terms, today’s meeting is crucial as it will decide the direction for the party’s poll strategy for the upcoming polls.
Leaders say they will continue to reach out to farmers to clear the air on all issues. “That the agitation is political, Punjab farmers understand well. The Direct Benefit Transfer of MSP has further clarified their doubts regarding the laws,” Punjab leaders say.
The BJP, which contested on 23 seats in alliance with SAD won three with a vote share of around 29 pc in seats it contested. Its overall vote share was around 5.4 pc in 2017.
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