Amid the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in Uttar Pradesh, the saffron party's campaign plan for the ensuing panchayat elections in the state has been designed with more focus on small interactions than public meetings.
The much-awaited panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh, also considered as the semifinal ahead of next year's Assembly elections in the state, will begin on Thursday with the first phase of polling in 18 districts. The remaining three phases will be held on April 19, April 26 and April 29, while the counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Lok Sabha MP and national president of BJP's Kisan Morcha, Rajkumar Chahar, told IANS that no public meetings, big or small, will be held for the panchayat polls.
"While campaigning, all the elected representatives of the party -- ministers, MPs and MLAs -- as well as senior leaders will interact with the influential and prominent people of a ward in small groups of 10 to 15 people," Chahar said.
He further stated that the BJP leadership has decided that instead of addressing 'jansabhas' (public meetings), the elected representatives and senior leaders of the party will interact with the voters in small groups.
The Uttar Pradesh BJP has issued strict directions asking its leaders to follow all Covid protocols. A senior party leader said that the decisions about campaign strategy have been taken in consultation with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh. Accordingly, it has been decided that no large public gatherings will be held during campaigning.
Chahar further said that the party has cancelled ward-level 'sammelans' (gatherings) and asked the candidates to focus on door-to-door campaign as the Covid situation is getting worse.
"No big meetings will be held this time. Even for the first phase polling, it was decided that a big meeting at the ward level will be organised, but due to the deteriorating Covid situation, it was cancelled," he said. "The welfare policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government and Yogi Adityanath-led UP government will ensure victory for BJP candidates," Chahar added. Another senior BJP leader said that candidates have also been asked to do only door-to-door campaign with a minimum number of supporters maintaining all the Covid protocols. On Tuesday, the BJP MP from Mohanlalganj, Kaushal Kishore, had appealed to the state election commission to postpone the panchayat polls for one month amid the rising number of Covid cases, saying that saving lives was more important than holding election.
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