Uttar Pradesh BJP holds review meetings ahead of polls
Bharatiya Janata Party's National General Secretary BL Santhosh today met senior party leaders in Uttar Pradesh so as to review the performance of the party there. Santhosh, along with former Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh, is on a two-day visit to the state. The review visit holds political significance as UP is set to hold elections next year.
Santhosh meets UP Deputy CMs, other Ministers
Earlier in the day, Santhosh had met UP Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, as well as Labor Minister Swami Prasad Maurya. He is expected to meet other state ministers later in the day. After today's meeting, Deputy CM Maurya reportedly said the saffron party would win "300 seats in 2022 polls."
Santhosh has already met CM Yogi Adityanath
Yesterday, Santhosh and Singh had held a dinner meeting with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at his official residence in Lucknow. He had reached the BJP's state headquarters earlier on Monday. Now, Santhosh and state BJP leaders will also likely review the working of the help desk started by the state government during the COVID-19 pandemic, besides other programs.
Adityanath-led UP government criticized over COVID-19 handling
The Yogi Adityanath-led state government has received widespread criticism from sections of the public and the Opposition parties for its handling of the COVID-19 second wave in the state. Shocking images of bodies floating in the Ganges in UP generated headlines and contributed to the flak. In fact, MLAs and MPs from the BJP also slammed the UP government over the COVID-19 situation there.
A high-level meeting was called in Delhi over similar concerns
A few days ago, a high-level meeting was reportedly held in Delhi involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief JP Nadda, and RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale, over the UP government's COVID-19 handling. Party sources told ThePrint at the time Adityanath may not be "given as much of a free hand." RSS or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the ideological mentor of the BJP.
UP to go to polls early next year
UP is set to go to polls early next year to choose the representatives of 403 Assembly seats. It is notably the most populous state in the country, as over 200 million (20 crore) people reside there. In the 2017 UP elections, the BJP had marked a landslide victory by winning more than 300 seats. It had declared Adityanath as CM after the polls.
BJP's poor performance in this year's local polls
The recently-concluded panchayat elections in UP have added to the BJP leadership's worries - the party suffered losses even in its strongholds in the local polls. In Ayodhya and Mathura - both considered BJP bastions - the saffron party's performance remained poor. Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party and former CM Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party were the top performers in Ayodhya and Mathura respectively.
Which all states will go to polls in 2022?
Before heading to UP, Santhosh was on a similar visit to the neighboring Uttarakhand, which will also hold Assembly elections next year. Other states that are going to polls in 2022 are Punjab, Goa, Manipur, and Gujarat.