In Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party has not just one, but three political enemies. And it has to fight the election battle in this crucial State next year before it prepares for the bigger challenge in Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
Party leaders agree that if the BJP fails to make a mark and reverse its electoral fortunes in U.P., it may as well forget the 2014 battle.
Keeping this in mind, the “most corrupt UPA” theme is to be somewhat modified to “a coalition of the corrupt” plank. The message that the BJP hopes to send out from its two-day national executive committee meeting in Lucknow from June 3 is that the three parties — the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party in U.P., the powerful Samajwadi Party and the runner-up Congress — are together in this “coalition of the corrupt.”
After all, party leaders have argued, the BSP and the SP are both “supporting parties” of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in Delhi. Dilli mein dosti, U.P. mein noora kushti — friendship in Delhi and a fixed match in Lucknow — is its new slogan.
In short, the BJP wants to project itself as the “only real alternative” to the Mayawati regime. A special resolution on the “situation in U.P.” has been planned, besides one on corruption and the other on the perceived attack on federalism by the Centre.
The resolution on U.P will naturally focus on what recently happened in Bhatta Parsaul, a senior party leader said. But other issues related to farmers and the farm sector will also be taken up. Issues related to availability of fertilizers and seeds, minimum support price and credit for farmers at low interest rates are expected to figure in the resolution. But above all, the issue of land acquisition, brought into national focus by the farmers’ agitation in Bhatta Parsaul, is expected to be highlighted.
The party can also be expected to make some effort to see that the Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh is not spared. There is a view in the BJP that a general perception that it had cosied up to Mr. Singh when he was Chief Minister — a BJP leader, Kesrinath Tripathi, inexplicably, was the Assembly Speaker when Mr. Singh was Chief Minister — proved to be costly in the last Assembly election.
While the BJP has already been shouting from the roof-tops that the Congress-led UPA is the “most corrupt” government the country has ever had, a new twist on this issue would be its “coalition of the corrupt” formulation that would also attack the BSP and the SP as among the most corrupt parties. Hindu