Jagjit Singh

Amit Shah takes charge, to chair crucial pre-poll meet in Varanasi today

Making it clear that he will be supervising BJP’s preparations for the UP assembly elections scheduled to be held within months, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will chair a meeting in Varanasi Friday of those in charge of the 403 constituencies and top state leaders, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The meeting in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency will also include the party’s 98 district-level leaders and regional unit presidents, apart from its state in-charge and national vice-president Radha Mohan Singh, state election in-charge and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, and UP Deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma.

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“Amit Shah will address all organisational functionaries from across the state. There is a possibility that he will interact with a few of them and seek feedback about poll preparations. The roadmap of poll programmes and activities is likely to be drawn up in the meeting,” a BJP leader told The Indian Express.

Highlighting the importance of the meeting, the party has put up over 1,000 hoardings in the city, with Radha Mohan Singh reaching Varanasi Thursday to oversee the preparations.

On October 29, Shah had launched a BJP membership drive for the state from Lucknow. While launching the drive, he had also made clear that Adityanath would be the party’s chief ministerial face in the elections. “The 2024 Lok Sabha elections that we have to win under Modiji’s leadership, its foundation will be laid by the UP 2022 Assembly polls. I want to tell UP’s public that if you want Modi ji to return as PM in 2022, you have to make Yogiji CM again in 2022. Only then can the country progress,” he had said.

On that day, he had held a closed-door meeting with party’s ex-MPs, ex-MLAs and those who had previously held charge of districts and Lok Sabha constituencies. He had also chaired a joint meeting of the party’s state core committee, and those in charge of regional units for organisational and poll affairs. It was after this visit that the party’s state unit set up a “joining committee” to screen the names of leaders who wish to take BJP membership ahead of the elections.

Incidentally, Shah was the BJP’s UP in-charge in 2014 when the party and its ally Apna Dal won 73 of 80 Lok Sabha constituencies — and the party came to power at the Centre. He was the party’s national president when the BJP and its allies won 325 seats in the assembly elections in 2017, and when the BJP-Apna Dal alliance won 64 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

On Friday, Shah will stay in Varanasi to take part in the All India Rajbhasha Sammelan the next day. From there, he will go to Azamgarh to lay the foundation of Azamgarh State University and address a public meeting.

Shah will later visit Basti to inaugurate a sports event being organised by local MP Harish Dwivedi, and travel to Adityanath’s stronghold Gorakhpur before leaving for Delhi.

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