It may appear that by bringing Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party president JP Nadda, and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the campaign for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections to be held on December 1, the BJP is going to make a big effort.

But this step seems inspired by the roadmap that Shah had prepared in 2017, when he was BJP’s national president. The roadmap envisaged that the BJP would be in power at all levels of governance – from panchayats to parliament, or ‘P to P’.

At that time, under Shah’s supervision, the BJP had already succeeded using this model. In the 2017 Odisha local bodies elections, where the party had never been in power, the BJP fielded several senior leaders, including the then chief ministers of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand – Raman Singh and Raghubar Das – and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan Were involved, who belong to the same state.

The party’s Odisha focus worked when it won 297 of the 853 seats of the district council, which was only 36 in 2012, and emerged as the main opposition party. The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) came to 473 seats. , Which was 651 in 2012.

That performance cleared the way for the BJP to become the second largest party after the BJD in the 2019 assembly elections.

Addressing a meeting of the party’s national executive in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha after the elections, Shah called for activists to expand the BJP at all levels, ensuring that the BJP ‘rules from panchayat to parliament’. .

Today, following the same strategy, 150 seats of GHMC are being contested, which cover Hyderabad and some surrounding areas.

The importance of how the BJP is giving importance to this election can be gauged from this, that senior leader Bhupendra Yadav – who took charge of the party in-charge in the Bihar Legislative Assembly elections held this month – is now monitoring campaign in GHMC Have been. The party’s aspirations are also bolstered by the victory in the Dubkka Legislative Assembly by-election held this month, which is considered to be the stronghold of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

The emphasis on the GHMC elections is part of the BJP’s efforts to spread its footsteps across South India, where it has been in power only in Karnataka. Only last week, Shah completed his tour of Tamil Nadu, where assembly elections are due early next year.

In the last GHMC election, the TRS won 99 divisions. Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslemin (AIMIM) won 44 seats, while the remaining seats went to other parties and independents.

A new event

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are seen touring across the country for the Vidhan Sabha elections, but for the first time in the GHMC, the BJP has fielded so many senior leaders for the local body elections .

This did not happen even when the BJP had contested the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections of 2017 against its former ally Shiv Sena, which became a battle of prestige for the allies fighting among themselves.

For the Shiv Sena, it was a question of saving its two-decade-old stronghold, while the BJP wanted to show that Mumbai is no longer just a Shiv Sena fiefdom, and it has become so strong now, that the Maharashtra-centric party , Can challenge in his own stronghold – rather than overtake him.

Nevertheless, the campaign work was left to the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, who addressed several rallies in the capital of the state. The only outsider who came to help in the campaign was Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath (the election ended on a very small margin, with the Shiv Sena winning 84 seats in the 227-member corporation, two more than the BJP).

Political commentator Hemant Desai said that the aggression the BJP shows today did not even appear in the 1990s, when it was growing as a party. He said that at that time, senior leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani did not address such rallies, even for the Vidhan Sabha elections.

He added, “There was no question of expecting publicity from the top leadership for local elections. These elections were fought to a large extent by local leaders. An exception was the Mumbai local body, where (former Shiv Sena founder) Bal Thackeray used to campaign privately, as the local body is very important to the Shiv Sena. But even then, other parties never used to put their big leaders in the campaign.

He added, “At this time, Modi and Amit Shah are deliberately making concentrated efforts to take the party to places where it has no presence.” At that time, leadership was not so organized and aggressive about these things.

According to experts, the strategy of getting central leaders, and ministers to campaign for the local elections, has been adopted by the BJP to keep its cadre motivated, and to expand its footprints.

Professor Sanjay Kumar of the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), a Delhi-based research institute, said, ‘You should understand that under Amit Shah, every election is important for the BJP, and they fight to win every election ‘.

Agreeing with Desai on the difference between BJP then and now, he said, “As far as the BJP of the past is concerned, in terms of campaigning in local elections, at that time there was a clear distinction between the party and the government. Earlier, senior leaders did not campaign in panchayat or civic elections.

He went on to say, ‘Shah once said that we follow the P-to-P model – ruling from panchayat to parliament. There is no difference between them, as they all have equal importance. As far as Hyderabad is concerned, there are two reasons for this: BJP considers it a fertile land, where it can move forward, especially keeping in mind the nature of the population ‘.

Kumar said that in Hyderabad, at least 52 percent of the population is Hindu, and 44 percent is Muslim.

He added, “Seeing senior leaders campaigning in local elections certainly inspires activists, who are currently trying to shape the party in the area.” For the BJP, it is also a way by which it can prepare the land for the state elections of 2024 and 2023. Whether he wins or loses, people can definitely see his efforts’.

The GHMC has 24 assembly constituencies, which constitute 20 percent of the 119 seats in the Telangana House.

‘Strengthening the party locally’

Speaking to our correspondent, BJP national spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal said that the ‘basic idea of ​​the party is to contest elections and strengthen the party locally’.

He said, ‘There goes a message from the participation of senior leaders, that the party is serious about all elections – Center, State and local units’.

He further said, ‘Not only in Hyderabad, but also in Jammu and Kashmir (upcoming) District Development Council (DD) elections, our senior ministers and leaders are campaigning’.

He said, ‘A few years ago, we did not even fight on our mark in Uttar Pradesh Panchayat elections, but now things have changed. This helps in expanding the footprints of the party, and also communicates with the people.

Such opportunities, Agarwal said, ‘also give the local leadership a chance to rise up’.

He said, ‘Our organization has become very strong in the recent past, and the mandal and booth level structure has been established’. He further said, ‘We have 18 crore members of our own, whereas earlier we also had to depend on RSS workers’.



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