SP is the party to beat: Amit Shah

NEW DELHI:BJP president Amit Shah, fresh from the party’s success in Assam, has now set his sights on the battle in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, and said that his main rival in the State would be the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), and not the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

At a media briefing on two years of the Modi government, Mr. Shah said: “We look at the SP as the party to beat in Uttar Pradesh. There is no confusion about that.”

“The SP has its base in the State intact, and a committed cadre. Therefore we feel that they will be the challenge in the polls rather than the BSP.”

‘No CM candidate yet’
He said the party had not taken a call on whether to project a chief ministerial face for the Uttar Pradesh elections.

The party had reaped electoral dividends in Assam by projecting Sarbananda Sonowal as its chief ministerial candidate.

Mr. Shah, however, said that the two States were different and poll strategies “would not and could not be the same.” “We are not a new party in Uttar Pradesh as we were in Assam or at least in large parts of it. We have 73 MPs from the State [71 from the BJP and two from NDA ally Apna Dal]. Therefore we were and continue to be a force to reckon with in the State,” he said.

The party is however going full tilt at stirring up the poll pot in the State, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled to address a rally in Saharanpur on Wednesday on the second anniversary of his government.

Party general secretary Anil Jain admitted that the Prime Minister’s choice of Saharanpur could be because of the upcoming polls in the State.
With Agencies