Adopting the 2019 Lok Sabha election plan, the BJP has geared up for a carpet campaign ahead of the October 21 Assembly elections with a host of leaders from the Centre and other states in line to address a string of public meetings and talk shows across the 164 constituencies where the party is contesting.
As a part of its seat-sharing alliance, the Shiv Sena will contest on 124 seats, while the BJP will contest on rest of the seats. There are a total of 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra.
According to a party source, the BJP has laid out a “micro-plan” for campaigning. “There is not a single Assembly segment which will be left out of our outreach plan,” the source said.
While Devendra Fadnavis, the party’s chief ministerial face, is set to hold 62 rallies — the highest — crisscrossing the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address nine to 10 rallies and Union Home Minister Amit Shah will address 18. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP national working president J P Nadda, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are also among the 40 other leaders who will campaign for the party in the state.
Also on the campaigners’ list are: Vinod Tawde and Chandrashekhar Bawankule, who were denied tickets this time, and rebel leader Eknath Khadse.
Fadnavis has deputed state energy minister Bawankule, who was denied ticket at the last moment from Kamptee seat, to campaign in Eastern Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. Higher and technical education minister Tawde, who was denied ticket from Borivali, meanwhile, will interact with the media and campaign in parts of Mumbai and Konkan.
Party sources said that while not all leaders from the Centre and other states will address big rallies, some will be roped in for addressing smaller, closed-door meetings as well.
A general secretary-rank leader, who did not wish to be named, said: “We (the BJP) have set a high strike rate of 90 per cent. Which means we are looking at 147 seats of 164 seats. It is a mammoth task. Therefore, the party has decided on high-intensity campaigning ahead of polling. The reason for tapping every segment, based on caste, community and region, is to ensure candidates maximise their leads against their rivals.”
The party, sources said, is also working to enhance its vote share by 10 per cent — in 2014, the BJP contested on 260 Assembly seats and won 122, which is 27.8 per cent of the total vote share.