Despite losing the recently held state assembly polls, the BJP is trying to make its presence felt in the state political arena with its ‘Mission Punjab’, leaving no stone unturned for its preparedness for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
In what is being seen as an intrinsic part of the ‘Mission Punjab’ is the inclusion of senior party leader and a prominent Sikh leader from Punjab, Iqbal Singh Lalpura, in the party’s Parliamentary Board and the Central Election Committee (CEC). These are the BJP’s top decision-making bodies for party affairs. Working directly under party president JP Nadda, Lalpura is expected to contribute for gearing up the party for the next parliamentary elections in 2024. Lalpura is currently the chairman of National Commission for Minorities.
A former IPS officer, Lalpura served in the state during the terrorism days of 1980s. He joined the BJP in 2012 after he quit the services and is considered a strong voice in the party’s list of official spokespersons. He has authored more than a dozen books on Sikh philosophy, including ‘Japji Sahib Ek Vichaar’, ‘Gurbaani Ek Vichaar’ and ‘Raj Karega Khalsa’.
He, however, received a big setback when he finished fourth in the contest for the Ropar assembly constituency in the recently held Punjab assembly polls.
According to party sources, by giving prominence to a Sikh face by including him in two premier bodies, the BJP was trying to engage with the Sikh community as a run-up to the polls. “We do believe that the state needs a bigger representation in party affairs and that’s why the step has been taken. This will help in taking into consideration demands of the state unit leadership,” commented a senior leader.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is arriving in Punjab on August 24 to inaugurate a hospital in Mohali. “In the days to come you will find not just the PM but other leaders as well coming in here and engaging with stakeholders like farmers. The Centre is keen to implement various developmental schemes in the border state to ensure every Punjabi gets the benefit of the schemes,” a leader said.