The Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign for the Assembly elections this time will not be personality-based. Instead it will focus on the “scams and the baseless announcements” of new projects and schemes by the Congress, both in the States and at the Centre.
It seems that the party has learnt a lesson or two from the Lok Sabha election earlier this year when its campaign was centred on the personality of its prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani.
“Every party learns lessons from past mistakes,” party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, without acknowledging that the party had indeed gone horribly wrong in its parliamentary election campaign. But, yes, this time around the BJP would not project any chief ministerial candidates.
Besides scams and announcements, other issues to be raised by the party include price rise, especially of food items, unemployment, farmers’ distress and corruption. An elaborate campaign plan has been drawn up that will see leaders L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Narendra Modi, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Husain and Mr. Naqvi himself spending days in the heat and dust exhorting people to vote for the party.
So far, it seems, neither of the three States going to the polls – Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh – have asked the party headquarters here to send Varun Gandhi for campaign. Mr. Naqvi did not say this directly, but hinted that no request had as yet been received. The State units are clearly wary of the fact that his hate speeches in Pilibhit during the Lok Sabha poll campaign came in for harsh criticism from the Election Commission and a related criminal case is pending.
In Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP is fighting the elections on its own but has its long-time partner, the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. In Haryana, it has decided not to project a chief ministerial candidate and in Maharashtra the top job will go to the partner who bags more seats, in the event of the alliance being in a position to form a government.
Keywords: personality-based campaign, BJP, assembly polls, L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu, Narendra Modi, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Husain and Naqvi