Indore to see BJP in search of new friends, renewed hope
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Last Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 17:58
Indore: After missing the bus for the second successive time in the Lok Sabha polls, BJP is putting its act together at the key meet here by formally ratifying the presidentship of Nitin Gadkari, the youngest ever party chief whose immediate task is to make the organisation effective and broaden the NDA.

The meeting of the National Executive and the National Council is important for the march forward of the main opposition as it is the first such meet after BJP's shock defeat in the May 2009 Lok Sabha elections that saw Congress- led UPA shaking off the opposition challenge once again.

Since then, the BJP has taken a number of steps including bringing in 52-year-old Gadkari from Maharashtra to the centre-stage and making Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha respectively.

The changes are being seen as a generational shift in the major opposition with party veteran L K Advani, 83, being made the Parliamentary Party Chairman, a move that indicates that he has taken a backseat.

The emergence of Gadkari, Swaraj and Jaitley as the new power trio has come at a time when the ruling Congress has seen that a young Rahul Gandhi has come to the fore and become the key leader in the ruling alliance along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Indore is important for the BJP as it is expected to mark the beginning of a new strategy to reach to the people with Gadkari, a leader with a management background, making it known that his priority was to approach the Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribe, Minorities and Other Backward Classes.

Gadkari, who has declared that he plans to increase the BJP vote share by 10 per cent to relegate Congress to the second position, has also sought to bring a new culture in the party by telling workers that they should work more and talk less.

The message is primarily to party leaders at various levels whose approaching the media too often has turned counter-productive and has laid bare the problems within the party.

In fact, the emergence of Gadkari, a newcomer to national politics, due to the blessings of RSS is being seen as a way to curb the D-4, the four Delhi leaders: Swaraj, Jaitley, former president M Venkaiah Naidu and general secretary Ananth Kumar, who were said to be working at cross purposes which had not gone down well with the RSS.

Gadkari has played a unifying role against the backdrop of intense differences among the top brass when his predecessor Rajnath Singh was at the helm.

His presidential address and the political resolution are expected to indicate BJP’s strategy for winning new friends to make the party-led NDA strong.

BJP's strained relations with long-time ally Shiv Sena over 'Mumbai for all' is likely to cast a shadow over the meet.

The party does not want to lose Shiv Sena while being wary of antagonising another trusted ally JD(U) in Bihar, especially when the latter is going to face the electorate later this year.

The conclave is being held at a juncture when the common man is facing the brunt of price rise and terror has raised its head yet again with a blast in Pune and talks with Pakistan was being resumed later this month.


First Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 17:58

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