Mohan Bhagwat will meet RSS and party functionaries at Varanasi this weekend

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh will play a pivotal role in the selection of BJP candidates in Uttar Pradesh for the general election.

RSS Sarsangchalak Mohan Bhagwat will hold a brainstorming session with the zonal and district heads of the organisation and the party’s campaign in-charge at Varanasi this weekend. Senior BJP leaders, including State president Laxmikant Bajpai, will attend the meetings.

Sources in the RSS, which is closely monitoring the selection process, said the “report cards” of the probable candidates and sitting MPs would be presented at the meetings.

A senior functionary said the meetings would discuss the role of the RSS in the process. “It is basically a ticket manthan session, to decide how much say each organisation will have in deciding the candidates.”

The BJP is said to have finalised candidates for 30 of the 80 seats. Some of the prominent names are Pilhibit MP Varun Gandhi, who will contest from Sultanpur, and Hukum Singh, who will seek election from Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh.

Now, the organisation will assess the credentials of the other candidates.

The BJP is also considering taking in smaller and regional parties.

Caretakers

Amit Shah, BJP general secretary in charge of the State and close aide of prime ministerial candidate Narenda Modi, has relied upon RSS functionaries who serve as caretakers, or palak, of the constituencies. These palak will oversee campaigning and coordinate between the party and the RSS.

The RSS is mobilising support at the booth level, even as the BJP is popularising Mr. Modi’s OBC credentials and his background as a tea-vendor. To woo OBC voters, the BJP will stage a month-long social justice programme from Saturday.