The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP rolls with its own poll

New Delhi, Dec. 24: The question of holding early polls may be unresolved, but the BJP has quietly started a survey of 350 Lok Sabha constituencies spread across the country.

These seats include those won in the 1999 elections and some that were not contested.

The objectives of the survey, being conducted by five agencies, are: identify states where the BJP is strong and weak; spot seats won or lost by a 5,000 margin; locate seats that could see triangular fights or where smaller parties matter and work out the caste arithmetic.

It will also report on the performance of sitting MPs; identify senior workers in each constituency who are expected to be assigned responsibilities by January-end and obtain feedback on the Centre’s policies.

The parameters of the survey are derived from the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh model the BJP used in the recent elections.

Sources said that in Rajasthan, the identification of 30-odd marginal seats by a professional pollster made a big difference because the BJP managed to neutralise its own rebels and prop up those of the Congress. In Madhya Pradesh, the co-option of senior workers, representing the old guard, took care of whatever damage they could have done to Uma Bharti’s prospects.

A meeting of the central office-bearers tomorrow, which will be attended by deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, is expected to discuss the blueprint for Mission 2004 — the poll campaign — and finalise the agenda for the Hyderabad national executive.

BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi virtually suggested that Mission 2004 would be launched tomorrow when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee addresses party workers who will greet him on his birthday.

Tomorrow will also mark the launch of the Vijay, Vikas Sankalp Par (Victory and Development Pledge festival) the BJP will “celebrate” for a fortnight.

The “festival”, Naqvi said, would be a medium of communicating the Centre’s “achievements” as well as the BJP’s work and policies to the people.

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