BJP president Amit Shah has asked  party workers in Madhya Pradesh to pull up their socks for the Assembly elections, scheduled in 2018.

During his three-day visit, Shah exhorted the party leaders to stay united so that the party could come to power for the fourth consecutive time in the state and also perform well in the subsequent Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Speaking to this newspaper, BJP’s state unit’s spokesperson Hitesh Bajpayee said that Shah would meet the core group members and state MPs and MLAs on Sunday, 20 August, in the last leg of his visit and roll out the plan for achieving the target of getting two-thirds majority in the next elections.

The visit is part of his 110-day nationwide tour to strengthen the party ahead of the 2019 general elections. Shah has set a target of winning over 350 parliamentary seats in the elections.

Some party leaders expressed concern about the decreased number of seats in the recent local body elections. Though the party won 26 of the 43 local bodies, its tally fell by three since the last election, while the Congress won three seats in Mandsaur.

The area was the epicentre of the recent farmers’ protest.

During his visit, Shah took the feedback of the state government and organisation in various meetings at the party office in Bhopal. He asked the party workers to convey their views openly and without any apprehensions. Shah put all speculation to rest about Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan being moved to the Centre and said that the BJP would contest the Assembly elections under his leadership.

Shah, according to sources, asked the office-bearers of various morchas to focus on the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and conduct programmes at places where the party is weak.

Shah, while addressing journalists, took a dig at the Congress for sabotaging NDA government’s attempt to give constitutional status to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), in the Rajya Sabha. “It was a historic bill brought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But despite Congress’ non-cooperation, the Prime Minister is committed to get the bill passed in both the Houses of Parliament,” Shah told reporters.


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