Keen on regaining its moorings in western Uttar Pradesh, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders met here on Tuesday to assess the party’s position in the aftermath of communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and evolve a strategy for the elections ahead.

Top leaders from the state said the party should capitalise on the current anti-government mood and strengthen its base by winning over the hearts of affected people, BJP sources said.

The leaders said people have lost faith in the Samajwadi Party government in the state after communal clashes in and around Muzaffarnagar, which have claimed around 40 lives.

The meeting of the party’s Core Committee for Uttar Pradesh was convened by BJP president Rajnath Singh, where BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, general secretary in-charge of the state Amit Shah, state unit chief Lakshmikant Bajpayee, besides Vinay Katiyar and Varun Gandhi were present.

“I have called leaders from Uttar Pradesh to discuss the situation in the state and evolve a strategy for the coming polls,” Mr. Singh said.

He termed the Muzaffarnagar clashes as “unfortunate” and blamed the Akhilesh Yadav government in the state for the riots.

Mr. Singh said had the government acted in time, the situation would not have worsened and also charged the Centre with not taking effective steps to prevent the clashes from spreading.

“Had the Congress-led Central government intervened in time, the riots could have been avoided,” he added.