As Gujarat heads for Assembly elections later this year, and the Congress is busy preparing plans at the ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Udaipur and the AAP has launched Parivartan Yatra in the state, the ruling BJP kicked off its state-level ‘Chintan Baithak’ on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on Sunday morning.
The two-day brainstorming session, which started at a club in Bagodara, is chaired by Union Home and Cooperative Minister Amit Shah, while prominent participants include national General Secretary, Organisation, B.L. Santosh, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, state unit president C.R. Patil, and other senior leaders, like former Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.
Gujarat BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav could not reach for time as he was deputed to Tripura as a central party observer for the election of new legislative party leader.
Party sources said two to three major issues to be discussed thoroughly is the BJP’s prospects on all the 182 seats, and what plans and strategies should be implemented to win a record-breaking number of seats in the upcoming elections.
The second challenge likely to be discussed is how to counter issues like inflation, unemployment, and the image of the state government, which is badly damaged by paper leaks in competitive exams one after another.
Though the BJP is publicly underplaying the Aam Aadmi Party’s presence in the state, but takes it seriously in private, sources said, adding that the AAP’s spread and rising influence in the state is concern and it will be discussed in detail, to ascertain where Arvind Kejriwal’s party can sabotage its prospects.
According to sources, party senior leaders believe that if the AAP’s influence spreads in rural areas, it will not damage BJP, but if its influence increases in urban areas, it will be problematic for the ruling party and so the BJP is going to prepare a counter-strategy to check AAP’s influence in urban areas.
To weaken the Congress further, the BJP is still going to lure a few more of its MLAs and leaders, and Hardik Patel is on the top of the list, said sources. If the last one works out, BJP leaders believe half the match is already won.
The BJP has identified more than 40 seats, which it won in 2017 with a paper thin margin, and some seats which Congress never lost post 2002 riots and even when then Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma was at its peak. To win such seats, the party plans to either divide the Congress organisation vertically, or ensure more parties contest from such seats and divide anti-incumbency votes, which can benefit the ruling party, said sources.