Assembly elections: BJP deputes key leaders, reviews preparations in 5 states

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has deputed key party senior leaders to take stock of election preparedness in five states slated to go to polls early next year and sought a daily account from lawmakers, ministers and legislators of party programmes that are being conducted for better outreach.

Elections in Punjab, Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are due early next year. Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat are also slated to pick new assemblies later in the year.

According to BJP functionaries familiar with the matter, all ministers and lawmakers have been instructed to hold meetings of people in “smaller groups” to “connect” better with voters, oversee the outreach for campaigning and devise “innovative” programmes to highlight social schemes and interact with beneficiaries.

“In Uttar Pradesh, for instance, a daily report has to be submitted to the party’s war room headed by Sunil Bansal, the state’s general secretary organisation,” one of the functionaries said on condition of anonymity.

As the poll-related work coincides with the winter session of Parliament, and with most of the lawmakers of the poll-bound states required to attend proceedings, the party has deputed legislators, ministers and other senior functionaries from other states to take their place.

“Leaders from Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, for instance, have been given charge of a bunch of districts in Uttar Pradesh; similarly a batch of leaders from Haryana will be deputed in Punjab and Uttarakhand. Ministers and MPs from the poll-bound states have to report to their respective constituencies on weekends when Parliament is not in session,” a second functionary said, seeking anonymity.

The second functionary also admitted that lawmakers from several poll-bound states have remained away from the House, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to warn them over attendance earlier this week.

“Most of the ministers and MPs now have the charge of a panna (voter list), so they have to also participate in the outreach programmes. Some of them had planned meetings which coincided with the session, so they will have to reschedule the daily programmes till after the session ends on December 23,” the functionary said.

Getting top leaders as ‘panna pramukhs’ (in-charge of voter lists) for election preparations were decided to ensure a more concerted campaign.

“All senior leaders, including Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, have also been given responsibilities as a panna pramukh. Earlier, senior ministers could volunteer to be panna chiefs but now, it is being made mandatory for them to connect with 30-60 voters listed on a page,” the first functionary said.

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