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Cabinet Reshuffle to Give New Roles to Outgoing Ministers for 'Mission 350'

With the looming fear of losing out on a number of seats in the Hindi heartland, BJP is now exploring its options in states like West Bengal, Assam and Odisha. The southern states of Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, where the saffron party hadn’t fared too well in 2014, also fare in the list.

Rajiv Kumar | News18.com

Updated:September 2, 2017, 12:48 PM IST
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Cabinet Reshuffle to Give New Roles to Outgoing Ministers for 'Mission 350'
File photo of BJP National President Amit Shah (via Getty Images)
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New Delhi: BJP President Amit Shah has set a target of adding another 150 seats for the party in the 2019 general elections. According to party insiders, Shah has already identified 150 seats from across states and have also assigned several ministers to take care of each of these constituencies.

The Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday morning is aimed at achieving the 350-seat target. At least 10 ministers may be dropped from the Union council of ministers and asked to work for the party organization, while some new faces may be brought in to balance regional and caste elements.

With the looming fear of losing out on a number of seats in the Hindi heartland, the party is now exploring its options in states like West Bengal, Assam and Odisha. The southern states of Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, where the saffron party hadn’t fared too well in 2014, also fare in the list.

According to sources, BJP has roped in three agencies to carry out weekly pan-India surveys to assess the party’s position in these states. Also, according to the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), the party has pumped in Rs 768 crore for these pan-India surveys.

Of the 150 targeted seats, BJP has assigned Union Ministers JP Nadda, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar, Ananth Kumar, Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal, Nirmala Sitharaman and Manoj Sinha five Lok Sabha seats each.

Ministers JP Nadda and Manoj Sinha have been assigned five seats each in West Bengal, where the party had managed to bag only two seats in the last general elections.

Similarly, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has been assigned five seats in Assam. BJP had won seven of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2014.

Dharmendra Pradhan and Piyush Goyal, both has five seats each to their names in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, respectively. While the party’s performance in Kerala was extremely sad with no seats won, it barely managed to stay alive in Tamil Nadu with only one seat.

Interestingly, Karnataka, which has a Congress government at the state-level, elected 17 BJP leaders to the Parliament. Nirmala Sitharaman has been assigned five seats in Karnataka.

BJP has further identified 600 full-time workers who would be deputed in these 150 seats until the 2019 Parliamentary elections are over.

In the 2014 elections, which saw a saffron surge across the country, BJP alone had secured 282 of the 545 seats in the Parliament. Together with its allies, the NDA front had secured over 300 seats, much more than the magic figure of 272, that a party needs to form the government.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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