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BJP banks on states of 1977 for 2014 win

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(Untitled)BJP picks its playing XI: How saffron party is targeting 11 states as it aims to take 293 Lok Sabha seats  

By Maneesh Pandey

Published: 21:50 BST, 9 December 2013 | Updated: 21:50 BST, 9 December 2013



The Bharatiya Janata Party has sharpened its final countdown to the general elections of next year. The party's CEO and President - Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh - have revised the target upward to beyond the magic figure of 272, deciding to focus on 11 states in the north and central zone of the country so as to form the next government.

In the four states where results were declared on Sunday, the BJP got 408 of the 590 seats. The party leadership now wants to ride carry this momentum forward into the general elections.

"Our aim is to first cross the 272 mark and hold public rallies to take across the voters our message for good governance, anti-corruption agenda and enrolling new voters,'' party president Rajnath Singh told Mail Today.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, from left, Rajnath Singh, Lal Krishna Advani, and Narendra Modi

It is learnt that the party's prime ministerial candidate and poster boy Narendra Modi now wants the BJP not only to target the nearly 72 parliamentary seats in these four states, but to extend the momentum over the nation's entire northern and central zones.

Top party sources confirmed the 11 states where the BJP will be entering an aggressive poll mode beginning early January next year are Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Rajasthan Haryana, Punjab, Himachal, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

These 11 states together have 293 LS seats, and the BJP hopes that the pace picked up in the Assembly polls will get it very close to the half-way mark of 272 in Parliament.

Leading from the front is Modi himself, who has set a virtual "mission impossible" for himself - to sweep Gujarat and get 26 out of 26 LS seats for the BJP, a top party insider told Mail Today on Wednesday.

In a similar vein, the Madhya Pradesh Assembly results have encouraged the state party leadership to fix a similar target - 29 out 29 - there as well.

BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar sees the momentum in the BJP as similar to the wave of the 1977 elections.

"A north India poll phenomenon is ready to strike in the Lok Sabha polls next year where we are aiming to repeat what we did then, that is make the Congress under Indira Gandhi sweat in the Hindi heartland of north and central India," he told Mail Today.

"If the latest Assembly results are any indicator, then we are going all out in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and the entire northern region up to Jammu," Kumar said.

The party top brass has decided to go full Swing set assembly with its three-fold strategy, hints party chief Rajnath Singh.

Big aims
The party is aiming high in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, particularly in the former where Rajnath's own leadership is facing a test to get the state back in the BJP's kitty.

"We are aiming to score over 50 per cent in UP and Bihar, which makes at least 60-70 seats out of 120," said Kumar.

Top party sources said Modi and Singh have already made Bihar a priority, especially after the split with Nitish Kumar.

In Maharashtra, the saffron party is ready to have a soft alliance with either the Raj Thackeray-led MNS or the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena.

"We can then sweep Maharashtra and with SAD in Punjab, we will try to make the most in northern areas," Kumar added.

Party sources added that the leadership is not leaving out the North-East, especially Assam and Arunachal, in its new poll agenda of a "Strong BJP and Extended NDA" to neutralise the Trinamool Congress effect in Bengal.

Congress and BJP decode 2013 impact on 2014
By Ayesha Arvind in New Delhi

The resurgence of the BJP in Delhi and its sweeping victory in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh have raised an inevitable question - will the 2013 Assembly results have any impact on the 2014 Lok Sabha polls?

Experts say the results point to a strong anti-Congress wave across the nation. A hopeful BJP, riding strong on the so-called Modi wave, has expressed confidence that the party's clear victory in the polls bode well for 2014.

"Though our performance in Delhi has been a little off the mark, we have realised that many people in Delhi voted for a new idea. The undercurrent in the state was in favour of the new political party. However, the scenario is different at the national level. A reading of people's moods indicates that they want Narendra Modi as the next PM," said former Delhi mayor Arti Mehra.





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The Congress and its supporters, however, are quick to cite past trends to negate any idea of the results affecting the 2014 verdict.

"In 1998, the Congress won in Delhi and Rajasthan but was defeated in the 1999 general elections; similarly, the BJP won in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2003, but was defeated in 2004. This proves that a state election victory may not necessarily translate into a win in the Lok Sabha polls," Congress leader Kiran Walia said.

"Besides, six months is long time. The BJP and AAP's attitude in Delhi is already irresponsible and unethical - neither wants to form a government. There have been minority governments at the Centre, so why do they want to burden Delhi with re-election? Is it because they promised the moon and now realise that they won't be able to deliver?" she added.