After hosting a dinner for RSS pracharaks deputed in the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a crucial meeting with the RSS and BJP brass, which also included BJP president Amit Shah and senior Cabinet ministers, to discuss key electoral issues like dalit and farm unrests, Kashmir, economy and the impact of Central government’s welfare schemes.
Sources said the meeting on Saturday, a day after Mr Modi hosted a dinner for pracharaks at his residence, also deliberated on 2019 poll strategies to take on a united Opposition.
The pracharaks last week took part in a brain-storming session with senior RSS leaders at Surajkund in Haryana.
On Saturday, the Prime Minister held talks with Sangh’s second-in-command Bhaiyya Joshi and joint general secretaries, including Dattatreya Hosabale, Suresh Soni, Krishna Gopal, V. Bhagaiah and Manmohan Vaidya, sources disclosed.
Union Cabinet ministers, including Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari, were also present.
With finance miniser Arun Jaitley recuperating from a surgery, railway minister Piyush Goyal, who is handling the additional charge of finance ministry, attended the meeting. RSS joint general secretaries coordinate with Sangh parivar’s various affiliates, whose cadre play a key role in BJP’s campaigning and outreach programmes.
During the meeting on Saturday, the Kashmir situation was also discussed as a result of which the Centre on Sunday called off its month-long suspension of operations against terror groups.
The saffron leaders also reviewed the impact of various Central government schemes. The BJP is hoping that the beneficiaries of Modi government’s various schemes would add to its votebank.
The Prime Minister’s interaction with BJP and RSS brass took place amid indications that the next Lok Sabha polls could see the BJP’s tally go down as compared to 2014 and the Modi-led NDA government’s development plank, which has been facing severe criticism from the Opposition, losing its sheen.
The BJP governments are also battling anti-incumbency in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh which are going to polls by the end of this year. The results in these states could impact the party’s performance in 2019.
The Prime Minister, sources said, will also meet Union ministers, who have been given the charge of non-BJP ruled states including Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal and also the North-eastern states. Strengthening the organisation in “non-Hindi speaking” states has been a focus area of the BJP leadership.