The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mahajan put in charge of polls

Indore, April 5: Pramod Mahajan, who was moved out of the government to the party in controversial circumstances barely two months ago, seemed on way towards rehabilitation when he was appointed the BJP’s overall in-charge for the four Assembly elections due in November.

Announcing the decision after the BJP national executive concluded, party president M. Venkaiah Naidu said Mahajan, a general secretary, would oversee the campaign and other aspects of the elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi. Each of these states would also be supervised by another general secretary and a central minister.

Mahajan and his loyalist, Ravi Shankar Prasad, would be in charge of Rajasthan, Sanjay Joshi and Arun Jaitley of Madhya Pradesh, Rajnath Singh and Yashwant Sinha of Chhattisgarh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Ananth Kumar of Delhi.

Naidu declared the BJP’s slogan for the general elections would be “Powerful BJP, Powerful India”. With this slogan the party hopes to send out the message that a vote for the BJP would not only make the party, but also the country, stronger.

The BJP president said the party and its allies had set themselves a goal of winning 300 seats in the elections but refused to answer questions, during the press briefing he addressed today, on how the seats would be distributed to attain this target.

In tune with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s stress on winning the Assembly elections, a political resolution adopted by the national executive described the task as the “foremost priority”. “The political situation is highly conducive to the BJP in all these states. What is needed is to fully gear up our organisation to meet the challenge and seize the opportunity,” it said.

The resolution called on state units to intensify their mass campaigns in Opposition-ruled states and highlight their “misrule and non-performance”. It said: “Continuous expansion of the party’s support base in newer geographical and social spaces, accompanied by consolidation in our traditional strongholds, was the clarion call that the national executive gave way back in June 1996 at its meeting in Bhopal.”

The Bhopal meeting, which was held in the immediate aftermath of Vajpayee’s 13-day government, had also directed the party to “continue to strengthen its efforts at alliance-building”, pointed out the resolution.

“The spectacular progress that the BJP has made since then is principally because of our successful efforts in the direction. Yet, we must realise that we have not reached out to all sections of our diverse society and to all regions of our vast country. Therefore, our party units must continue to exert themselves in this direction,” it said.

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