Spread development message in U.P., says PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah met the party’s Members of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh at a dinner meeting on Monday night, and asked them to stay abreast of the Modi government’s development initiatives to successfully take its message to the people.

Uttar Pradesh, which has 403 Assembly constituencies, goes to the polls next year and is crucial State for the BJP’s overall electoral prospects. The BJP has slated six rallies to be addressed by Mr. Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the State in April, with Mr. Modi also scheduled to address a rally at Kanpur. Sources said Mr. Modi asked the MPs whether they knew how many villages had been energised under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Jyoti Yojana that aims at the electrification of all villages by March 31, 2017.

He also asked them how many had downloaded the Grameen Vidyutikaran Android app, which gives users real-time information on the scheme.

Largely rural Uttar Pradesh also has a power crisis and the move can gain the BJP some goodwill in the State, though electrification of a village is not the same as the electrification of individual households or good supply of power to them.

The Prime Minister cautioned that without the MPs themselves aware of the work done by the Centre, the party would lose the opportunity to connect with the people, one of the MPs said.

Mr. Shah is believed to have discussed the Modi government’s move to set aside Rs. 8,000 crore to give free cooking gas connections to poor households.

He told party MPs to take this scheme down to the people, lest the State government claim it as its own.

An MP said that the message was loud and clear that since Central money goes for development schemes via the State government, party MPs had a key role in the ruling party at the Centre claiming the credit.

This was the Prime Minister’s third meeting with party MPs from the State.

Uttar Pradesh had a big role to play in Mr. Modi’s thumping victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, as the State gave the BJP 71 out of its 80 seats (73 with allies).

As the dynamics of a State poll are very different – as Bihar and Delhi amply demonstrated – the BJP wants to leave no stone unturned to achieve a good result in the State polls next year.