party workers to regain Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) "fertile
land" in Uttar Pradesh, party chief Nitin Gadkari Friday said this
would also assist the party to win the 2014 general elections.
"The passage to Delhi goes via Lucknow. If you want to win 2014,
you will first have to win Uttar Pradesh," said Gadkari in his
inaugural address at the party's two-day national executive meet
in the Uttar Pradesh capital, according to party leaders.
Categorically announcing that the party will have no pre- or
post-poll alliance for the upcoming state assembly elections in
2012, the BJP chief said: "We will strive to come in power on our
own with the blessings and support of the public. We will have no
alliance whatsoever either with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP),
Samajwadi Party (SP) or Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD)."
"Uttar Pradesh has once been our fertile land... We have got the
majority here on our own. Let's not forget that. We all have to
gear up to strengthen the party's base in the state. We will have
to work in unity for reviving the party in Uttar Pradesh," said
Assembly elections in the state, due in 2012, are critical for BJP
and its performance would ultimately decide how the BJP fares in
2014 when it would try to overtake the Congress to form the
central government. In 1998, when the BJP had 182 MPs in the Lok
Sabha - its highest so far, Uttar Pradesh had contributed 57, a
far cry from 10 MPs in the present Lok Sabha.
Briefing media persons about Gadkari's address, BJP national
spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said: "He (Gadkari) was of the
firm view that the public in Uttar Pradesh was fed up of the
misgovernance and misrule of the BSP and the SP. As a result,
there was a good opportunity for the party to prove itself among
"The party president also said that the recent Mahasangram rallies
held in various parts of Uttar Pradesh helped the party strengthen
its base in the state," he added.
According to Prasad, Gadkari in his speech also said that the
party would miss charismatic former prime minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee in the upcoming political scenario.
"It's true that there is no replacement for Atalji... Before
coming to Lucknow, he (Gadkari) even met Atalji and took his
blessings," said Prasad.
Asked what was Gadkari's opinion on the Ayodhya Ram Temple issue,
Prasad said the matter too came up during the meet. "He (Gadkari)
said that it (Ayodhya Ram temple) is not a political issue and
appealed to all sections of the society from different religions
to co-operate for the construction of the Ram Temple."
In reply to a question, Prasad said: "For BJP, the Ram temple is
not an election-related issue... Elections will continue to take
place... We expect that in sync with the cultural values of the
country, the temple should be constructed."