The BJP in Maharashtra on Wednesday lobbed the ball on continuation of its alliance for the next year’s assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the court of its estranged partner Shiv Sena.
The BJP also stressed that it is in favour of the tie-up with the Uddhav Thackeray-led party.
Addressing reporters after attending the meeting of the district-level BJP workers here, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the BJP wanted the Sena to continue being its alliance partner to avoid splitting of votes, which he said would benefit the Congress.
“The BJP wants the Shiv Sena to stay as an alliance partner. Splitting of votes will only help the Congress to win the elections,” he said.
Mungantiwar said it is now up to the Sena (leadership) to decide on whether to forge an alliance (with the BJP) for the forthcoming elections.
Uddhav Thackeray had earlier this year announced that his party would go solo in all the future elections.
The Sena, despite being a ruling constituent, has been criticising the BJP on various issues in the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
Mungantiwar said the state BJP unit has decided to come up with “point by point” rebuttals to counter the spread of “misinformation” by the Congress and NCP against the NDA government.
“The Congress and the NCP have come up with an array of misinformation. We have decided to counter it with statements that will demolish the false claims point by point,” he said.
The senior BJP leader said the party’s Central committee is currently preparing a booklet comparing 47 years of the Congress rule with the 47 months of the BJP government.
“On the same lines, the Maharashtra BJP will come up with a booklet comparing 15-year-long chaotic tenure of the Congress government (1999-2014) with the four years of the BJP rule,” the minister said.
He said the document would mention the BJP government’s performance since 2014 and how the party streamlined the state affairs.
Mungantiwar said the BJP has conducted a review to tap the party’s strength in all the 288 assembly seats and 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.
In the 2014 assembly polls, the BJP had contested 260 seats and won 122, while Sena had contested 282 and won 63.
On preparations for elections, Mungantiwar said the BJP has decided to appoint a polling booth agent at the party level who will steer a team of 25 people at the local level.
Earlier, around 10-15 people used to work under a booth agent.
“There are some 91,451 booths in Maharashtra. The BJP has decided to appoint a booth agent for every unit,” Mungantiwar said.
A state assembly constituency generally has 300 booths.
He said five booths are being clubbed together in view of the organisational arrangement and the unit is collectively called as a ‘Shakti Kendra’.
“The chiefs of the Shakti Kendras will soon be called to Mumbai for a separate meeting,” he said.
Another BJP leader said the team of 25 people will be called as “page-monitors” who will be assigned one page each from the voters list.
“Page-monitors will be responsible to meet every voter from the list and are supposed to convince them to support the BJP,” he said.
He said the BJP is targetting to bring at least 55 per cent voters listed on a given page to come out and vote.
“It is the responsibility of the page-monitors to mobilise the voters,” he said, adding that as many as 60 per cent polling agents have been finalised by the BJP state unit and rest would be finalised in the coming days.