‘Central cabinet and state ministers may visit Punjab in mid-April, but it depends on the law-and-order situation in the state’
New Delhi: The Amritpal episode has impacted the political activities of the BJP in Punjab. This month, Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state was scheduled to launch a yatra against drugs, but, according to sources inside Punjab BJP, the yatra is scheduled for next coming months.
“Earlier, the visit was scheduled due to G20 meetings, but now it has been rescheduled because of Operation Amritpal,” said the BJP leader. Under Lok Sabha Parvas Yojana, various ministers are scheduled to visit Punjab next month. “Central cabinet and state ministers might visit Punjab in mid-April, but it depends on the law-and-order situation in the state,” a BJP functionary told The Sunday Guardian.
The Lok Sabha Parvas Yojana is a pre-poll strategy launched by the central leadership of the party to strengthen its base on 160 seats, which the saffron party lost in the 2019 general elections. The first phase of the Yojana has ended and currently, the second phase is going on. Three ministers, who are primarily focusing on Punjab, have already visited the state and some have done their second visit.
In 2024, the BJP will go alone in Lok Sabha elections in the state without their former alliance partner Akali Dal. In September 2020, the Akali Dal walked out of NDA after the Centre announced the controversial farm laws. After that, the BJP fought the Punjab 2022 Assembly elections alone, but only secured two seats. According to Punjab BJP leaders, central ministers will discuss election strategy with state unit leaders and workers. “The main focus of this programme is to spread the message of the Modi government among people and endorse central schemes,” a BJP leader said.
Last year, the party brought various leaders from other parties into BJP and this has created resentment among old workers of the party. “Apart from discussing strategy, the central leaders will also try to establish coordination between the new entrants and old workers of the party,” the BJP leader said. “But the fate of the visit depends on the law-and-order situation in Punjab,” added the BJP leader.
Earlier, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Mansukh Mandaviya visited the state. These leaders are given the responsibility to increase the saffron party’s base in the state. “Some other ministers like Meenakshi Lekhi, Hardeep Puri and Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti had also visited the state in the past months,” the BJP leader said. In the last 2019 elections, BJP was in alliance with Akali Dal (Badal). The Akali Dal fought elections on 10 seats and three were given to BJP; the saffron party won Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha seats.