BJP adjusts strategy to counter farmer protests in Punjab; Shifts focus to migrants

| | Chandigarh
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BJP adjusts strategy to counter farmer protests in Punjab; Shifts focus to migrants

Wednesday, 15 May 2024 | Monika Malik | Chandigarh

Amidst the backdrop of ongoing farmer protests in Punjab, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finds itself recalibrating its political strategy to navigate the turbulent waters of agrarian discontent. The relentless opposition from the farmers, particularly in rural regions, has prompted the party to adopt a multifaceted approach aimed at mitigating electoral losses and consolidating support from other demographics.


Central to this revised strategy is a shift in focus towards migrants from the neighbouring states, predominantly Uttar Pradesh. Recognizing the significant presence of migrant populations in Punjab, the BJP sees an opportunity to mobilize support from this demographic segment, which may be less impacted by the agrarian grievances fueling the protests. By redirecting attention towards migrants, the party aimed at offsetting the potential losses in rural constituencies and broadening its electoral base.


Concurrently, efforts are underway to bolster the organizational framework of the party, particularly in regions where farmer opposition has been most pronounced. In response to this imperative, the saffron party has intensified its Uttar Pradesh Cell in Punjab, appointing new members across four key districts — Sangrur, Ferozepur, Mansa, and Moga.


Approximately 30 individuals have been tasked with spearheading organizational initiatives aimed at consolidating support and galvanizing grassroots mobilization. These appointments — at the level of conveners, co-conveners, and state executive members — reflect the party's commitment to fortifying its presence at the grassroots level and fostering a robust organizational structure capable of withstanding the challenges posed by the farmer protests.


Moreover, the BJP has prioritized the strengthening of booth-level operations in each district, recognizing the pivotal role played by grassroots mobilization in electoral success. Local committees, comprising representatives from diverse demographics, including youth and community leaders, have been established to spearhead campaign efforts and engage with voters at the grassroots level. This grassroots-centric approach underscored the party's commitment to grassroots democracy and its recognition of the importance of community engagement in electoral politics.


However, the BJP’s electoral endeavours have not been without challenges, as evidenced by the significant opposition encountered during campaign activities. Instances of protests, including the display of black flags and the barring of entry into villages, have posed formidable obstacles to the party's electioneering efforts. Farmer unions, emboldened by their resolve to resist perceived injustices, have intensified their protests against BJP candidates, disrupting campaign events and impeding the party's outreach efforts in rural areas.


Despite these challenges, the BJP remained undeterred in its pursuit of electoral success in Punjab. A party delegation, led by the state BJP president Sunil Jakhar, had approached Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer, highlighting concerns regarding the unfair treatment of their candidates and advocating for equitable campaign conditions. The CEO's subsequent appeal to the farmers to allow candidates to campaign freely underscored the importance of preserving the integrity of the electoral process and ensuring a level playing field for all political stakeholders.


In tandem with these efforts, several senior BJP leaders have descended upon Punjab to bolster the party's campaign machinery and energize grassroots mobilization. Central Ministers and Chief Ministers from other states have been assigned pivotal roles in the party’s electoral strategy, reflecting a concerted effort to harness the collective strength of the BJP’s leadership cadre. The inclusion of prominent figures such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, among others in the list of star campaigners underscored the party's resolve to mount a formidable electoral challenge in Punjab.

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