|BJP president Rajnath Singh being felicitated in Guwahati on Wednesday. (PTI)
Guwahati, Sept. 18: BJP president Rajnath Singh arrived here today on a two-day visit to review the party’s preparations in the Northeast for next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
Singh was welcomed by party leaders, including Assam BJP president Sarbananda Sonowal, at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.
He went straight to a city hotel where he held a series of closed-door meetings with senior party officials from all the northeastern states, except Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
“He will sit separately with the leaders of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh tomorrow,” a party source said.
According to the source, the meetings were held to figure out the party’s strategy in the region for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, particularly in the wake of Narendra Modi’s coronation as the party’s next prime ministerial candidate.
He asked the leaders of the party’s state units to work towards strengthening the party at the grassroots.
There are 25 Lok Sabha seats in the eight northeastern states, including Sikkim, and the BJP had won four of these last time. All four seats where the BJP won are in Assam.
Rajnath Singh discussed ways and means to increase the party’s seat count in the region in the next year’s general polls, the source said.
“The current political situation in the states was also discussed,” he said.
Senior central party leaders, including S.S. Ahluwalia, Ram Lal, Nalin Kohli, Tapir Gao, P. Chandrasekhar, Bijoya Chakraborty, Kiren Rijiju and Padmanabha Acharya attended the meetings.
Ahluwalia, BJP national vice-president and prabhari of Assam, has already reviewed the party’s status in the state during his visit earlier and he is likely to discuss his findings with Singh in the presence of state leaders tomorrow, the source said.
“During this visit, Rajnath Singh will also do some preparatory work for Narendra Modi’s visit to the region, which is likely to take place at the end of November,” he said.
“Being the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Modi will emphasise that the BJP has always had a special place for the region. Development measures like creation of DoNER ministry for rapid development of this region and widening of the national highways had taken place when Atal Behari Vajpayee was the prime minister,” he said.
He said Modi would give special importance to the region owing to its strategic location, sharing a border with China, Myanmar and Bangladesh.