BJP’s extensive Hyderabad campaign based on ‘Panchayat to Parliament’ strategy
BJP’s extensive Hyderabad campaign: Hyderabad civic body bypolls, scheduled for December 1, might appear as a big battle for BJP as all the party biggies including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have been set to join the campaign rally. Many believed that the party followed the same strategy which Shah brought in as the party president back in 2017, working towards bringing BJP in power at grassroots level to the top level – from Panchayats to Parliament.
Shah’s ‘P to P’ strategy brought the party much success, and Odisha became its first testimony. Unlike like previous BJP leaders, Shah believed that every election was important and focused on increasing BJP footprint at every level of governance. In Odisha, the strategy helped the party won 297 of the 853 zila parishad seats, which was a significant rise from 36 in 2012. Also it placed the party as the main opposition party in the state. It pushed the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) down to 473 seats from 651 in 2012.
Speaking about the the party’s new campaign strategy, BJP national spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal told The Print that the party’s “basic thought is to fight elections and strengthen the party at the local level… The involvement of senior leaders there sends a message that the party is quite serious about all the elections — Centre, states as well as local bodies.”
“It is not just in Hyderabad but in Jammu and Kashmir also, for the (upcoming) District Development Council (DD) elections, our senior ministers and leaders are canvassing,” he added.
“A few years ago, we were not even contesting on our own symbol in the Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections, but things have changed now. This helps expand the footprints of the party, as well as establish communication with the people,” he said.
In the GHMC elections, the party would be contesting for 150 for seats, which includes Hyderabad and nearby area. Besides, Hyderabad is important for BJP as it wants to expand its hold in South India and Hyderabad would mark the beginning of this endeavour. Last year, in the GHMC election, the Telangana Rashtra Samith (TRS) won 99 divisions, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) of Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi won 44, while the rest of the seven were taken by other parties and Independent candidates.
BJP doesn’t want to take any chances, hence positioned Bhupender Yadav — a senior party leader who was in-charge of Bihar assembly elections, held this month — as the campaign supervisor for the GHMC. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah have been travelling across the country to increase BJP’s presence and influence everywhere.
Political commentator Hemant Desai said that BJP’s aggressive tone towards elections was a stark contrast from 1990’s BJP, when the party was still growing. He said, “Right now, Modi and Amit Shah are making a deliberate concentrated effort to grow the party in places where there is no presence. Back then, the leadership wasn’t this methodical and aggressive about it.”
Another political analyst and professor at the Delhi-based research institute Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Sanjay Kumar highlighted the fact that “senior leaders are seen canvassing for local elections definitely motivates the workers who are still trying to shape the party in the region. This is also a way for the BJP to set the stage for 2024 and the 2023 state elections. Whether they win or lose, the people are able to see the efforts they put in.”