The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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For big fight, BJP to tap youth pride

New Delhi, Dec. 18: BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu has said he would have a blueprint for the Lok Sabha polls in place by March 30.

The draft will incorporate the major elements on his drawing board: alliances, the campaign theme and style and the micro-level strategies.

“The picture has to be clear by March,” Naidu said during a conversation with a group of journalists today.

He said the BJP’s key slogan will be ‘Shaktishaali Bharat, shaktishaali BJP’ (powerful India, powerful BJP), coined to appeal to the “young and futuristic-looking” voters.

The BJP’s campaign in the just-concluded Assembly elections and the one in Gujarat focused sharply on this segment. “We are slowly working on a theme to create an emotional upsurge by raking up patriotic fervour. India is a big country but for 50 years it remained far behind on the global map.

“Now for five years, India is on the right path. This message will appeal to the new generation, the younger generation. They are less interested in politics and more on career-building. One sign of this trend is that organised violence by youths has declined and there is less vandalism. But as a result of economic liberalisation, life has become more competitive. Development is the key issue,” Naidu said.

The BJP’s message to this target group will be: “Our country is moving forward. Become a bhagidhaari (part of the process).”

Naidu’s other proposals include:

Sustain the euphoria and tempo generated by the Assembly poll victory through the 15-day Vikas, Vijay, Sankalp yatra the BJP will organise from December 25 throughout the country.

Involve more central ministers in election work as he did in the state elections. BJP sources said as many as 32 ministers were present in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh on polling day. Agriculture minister Rajnath Singh’s month-long presence in Chhattisgarh “boosted” the state unit’s morale and “they finally picked up courage to speak out against Ajit Jogi”, a BJP leader said.

Among the ministers identified for the task are Arun Jaitley, Arun Shourie and Jagmohan (to address opinion-makers), Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajnath Singh, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Hussain. They are expected to supplement the efforts of Pramod Mahajan, Sanjay Joshi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Work in synch with the Sangh. Naidu mentioned how the RSS involved itself in the state elections 15 months ago in its usual understated fashion. But he added that “stalwarts” like Kaptan Singh Solanki, Om Mathur and Nar Mohan as well as the RSS’ joint general secretary Madan Das Devi were crucial in cementing the fissures in the faction-ridden BJP in Madhya Pradesh.

Draft an action plan for the BJP’s chief ministers after the Hyderabad national executive on January 11 and 12.

Review the development initiatives launched by the Centre.

Naidu, who is almost certain to be re-elected as the party president in January, said the Lok Sabha polls were “unlikely” to be held before September 2004, although the NDA and non-NDA parties like the Nationalist Congress Party were keen on bringing it forward.

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