After playing second fiddle to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for over two decades, the BJP has decided to go big for the forthcoming Punjab assembly polls despite being under pressure due to the ongoing farmers’ protest. The party has decided to focus on its areas of strength though it plans to contest all seats, primarily for optics.
Already under fire from a large section of the local population, especially the farmers’ organisations, the BJP has decided that it would focus on 45 Hindu majority seats, which are primarily in the urban areas for the state assembly elections.
The constituencies that the BJP has identified has around 60% Hindu population. The BJP state leadership has explained to the district leaders about the strategy and paying more focus on the seats. The BJP already has the advantage of having won 23 of these 45 seats when they were contesting as an alliance with the SAD. “The BJP leadership at the Centre realises that the state leadership is faced with the difficulty of campaigning and there have been incidents of attacks against BJP leaders in the recent past,” said a senior state BJP leader. He underlined that it would be best for the BJP to concentrate in the areas where it is on a strong footing and has a chance to make inroads into other areas.
Leaders pointed out that there are several other seats where the party used to contest during the Bharatiya Jana Sangh days. Some of these seats where the BJP considers it has a fair chance of retaining and winning seats include Ropar, Jalalabad, Patiala (Urban), Bathinda (Urban). The party has also identified seats where they have never contested but have strong organisational base such as Derabassi, Kharar and Mohali, Ropar, Budhlada and Bathinda (Urban). The district party leadership has also been instructed to work with likeminded social organisations in not only these areas to cement their position but also to ensure that the party makes inroads into other unexplored areas, especially those dominated by farmers’ organisations.
A confident state BJP general secretary, Subhash Sharma, said the party would be contesting in all the 117 seats. “It is a different experience for the BJP. The party will fight the elections solo in the state. And we are confident as well.” Party insiders say any gain for the BJP will be a fillip given the mood of the people in the state, which holds the party responsible for the three farm laws.