Nine poll-bound states in BJP national executive’s radar next week
By G Krishna Mohan Rao*
New Delhi: 2023 is the year that will see nine States going to the polls. Scheduled for January 16 and 17, 2023 in the national capital, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party National Executive (NE) meeting’s major focus is thus going to be on these nine poll-bound states. It is set to draw a roadmap for these crucial political battles that will set the tone for the 2024 general elections when Prime Minister Modi seeks a third straight term. The biggest highlight of the meeting would be the concluding address by Modi to BJP colleagues on how to take the party and the organisation forward and his mantra for electoral success.
Three States in North East— Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland — are expected to go to polls in February-March, 2023, and the poll schedule is expected to be announced any time. Other States which will go to polls later this year are Karnataka, Mizoram, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Importantly, the BJP NE may also take a call on holding Assembly elections in the key state of Jammu and Kashmir, since the delimitation process of assembly constituencies has got over.
The executives of the party are likely to announce a year’s extension for JP Nadda, whose three-year term as party chief ends later this month. Postponement of the organisational elections in view of the Assembly elections in nine states and all-important Lok Sabha polls in 2024 may also come up for discussion at the meeting. It is said that the process of internal polls in the party may begin after the Lok Sabha polls are over in April-May 2024. Nadda’s predecessor and Home Minister Amit Shah too had got an extension to spearhead the party’s preparation for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The significance of the National Executive meeting can be understood from a marathon meeting of BJP’s national General Secretaries held by party president JP Nadda earlier this week to discuss the agenda. As preparations are underway for the NE meeting, the BJP will deliberate on its political agenda for the year 2023 there.
The NE meet will take stock of poll preparations. The effort of the party would revolve around winning the five major States — Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. So, the focus is on retaining power in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh and regaining power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. In Telangana, the BJP has emerged as a major challenger to the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). Despite BJP having only four seats in the Telangana assembly, it has overtaken the Congress Party in the state.
However, on the other hand, the BJP in North East is on a sticky wicket, though it is in power in all three election-going states— Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya. In Tripura, cracks have appeared in the BJP state unit, which forced Biplab Dev to step down as chief minister. The National People’s Party-BJP alliance in Meghalaya seems to be under strain with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma indicating his party was willing to fight the polls without an ally. Then there is the interstate border issue with the neighbouring BJP-governed Assam. In fact, in Nagaland also, similar border and territorial issues exist with Assam.
The National Executive meeting would assess the implementation of the work outlined at the last national executive meeting held in Hyderabad in July 2022, when the message was to reach out to communities, especially marginalised Muslims.
There are extensive reports in the media that soon after the national executive, the Prime minister would undertake a major cabinet reshuffle keeping in view the assembly polls in nine states as well as General Elections in the country next year.
The party will also go all out to promote G-20 events following India getting the presidency of the elite grouping of 20 leading economies of the world. World leaders would be attending the G-20 summit in India scheduled sometime in September this year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, party president JP Nadda, BJP Chief Ministers, Union Ministers, and Central and State officer bearers, are among those 350 delegates who would be attending the two-day event.
On February 1, 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would be presenting the annual budget in Parliament. In this context, the national executive may focus on the priority issues, while reviewing the welfare measures and it is possible that the party may go for new policy initiatives in the budget to benefit the people.
Sources say that at the national executive apart from political and economic resolutions, the G-20 presidency will be a key area on which the party leaders will pass a resolution. The meeting will focus on coordinating the organisational exercise related to the Summit in September. India has planned around 200 events across 56 cities in the run-up to the G-20 summit, it is learnt.