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After Delhi rout, alarm bells ring for BJP in UP
Friday February 13, 2015 3:02 PM, Monish Gulati, IANS

After a near washout in the Delhi election, alarm bells are ringing in the BJP unit in Uttar Pradesh which has aborted for now plans to rope in leaders from other parties.

Realizing that the Delhi rout could be a result of overlooking loyalists and long-time veterans, the state unit has decided to halt its overzealous drive to rope in leaders from other parties. The Bharatiya Janata Party has recruited over the past one month alone more than a dozen big and small leaders as well as spouses from other parties.

The state unit is also awaiting instructions from the central leadership on the controversial 'ghar wapasi' (homecoming) programme that sought to make Muslims to embrace Hinduism.

Laxmikant Bajpayi, the BJP state president, has admitted the unease among party cadres and has vowed not to bring in leaders from other parties at the cost of its own activists, informed sources told IANS.

Bajpayi is learnt to have ordered his colleagues to stop all new proposed admissions to the party.

Old-timers say that in a bid to embrace technology and tools like social networking, largely to look like a party of youth and with a 21st century outlook, the party had rubbed its old-time cadres the wrong way.

"The party needs to understand that there has to be a balance between technology and reality," said a senior BJP leader from Kanpur.

"You can make members through SMS but not establish connect or dialogue with people through SMS. The party needs to take stock of the situation," he added.

State BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak admits to the need for course correction post Delhi and said the party would do an internal assessment of the election results in the capital and take corrective measures.

"We will do whatever it takes to regain the confidence of the people," one party leader told IANS after voters in Delhi delivered a humiliating blow to the BJP, giving it just three of the 70 assembly seats.

What, however, is more worrying is that in a state where the "Modi Wave" wiped out all other parties just nine months back, it is now faced with electoral reverses.

In all the electoral contests after the Lok Sabha polls in May 2014, the BJP has taken a hit in Uttar Pradesh.

It lost the by-elections, the Cantonment Board polls and the Rajya Sabha polls too.

The Delhi outcome is considered a grave disaster since the national capital is home to some three million people from eastern Uttar Pradesh known as Poorvanchalis.

Constituting about 28 percent of the electorate in Delhi, the Poorvanchal voters deserted the BJP en masse and voted for the Aam Aadmi Party, which ended up with a staggering 67 of the 70 assembly seats.

This despite the fact that Bhojpuri actor and singer Manoj Tiwari is a BJP MP from Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also an MP from eastern Uttar Pradesh, a region the BJP swept barring Azamgarh, which elected Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

A senior BJP MP, not wishing to be named, told IANS that the process of consultation with cadres and state leaders had almost been done away with in the Amit Shah-led BJP.

"In such situations, leaders with no real grassroots have taken over decision-making, leaving the loyalists high and dry," he said.

Even a union minister from Uttar Pradesh admits of "immense shortcomings" in ticket distribution, saying when state unit chiefs are denied ticket, the party's morale was bound to take a hit.

With Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, smarting from the Lok Sabha rout, again rooting for development, the BJP cannot afford to be complacent vis-a-vis Uttar Pradesh, which sent a record 71 BJP MPs to the Lok Sabha.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at mohit.d@ians.in )




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