BJP raises its target of win in \'difficult\' Lok Sabha seats to 160 from 144

Update: 2022-12-19 13:20 GMT
The BJP has suspended 12 rebels who had filed their nominations as independent candidates after being denied tickets by the party in the Gujarat Assembly elections. (Representational image: ANI)

NEW DELHI: The BJP has raised the number of "difficult" Lok Sabha seats it is eying to win in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls to 160 from 144, with a big chunk of additions coming from Bihar where it is set to contest most of the constituencies on its own following its split with the JD(U).

Its organisational leaders assigned to spearhead the drive in these seats met party president J P Nadda on Monday to take stock of the exercise and discuss the future road map.

With Bihar and Telangana figuring high on its expansion drive, the BJP will also be holding a two-day training meet of its "vistaraks", who are each in charge of one of these seats on a full-time basis, in Patna and Hyderabad, sources said.

The BJP lost most of these seats, which are from states across the country, in 2019 but some of its winning constituencies also figure on the list as the party believes that they remain a challenge due to local social and political factors. Seats like Rohtak and Baghpat that the BJP had won are among these seats.

The sources said that the Bihar meeting is on December 21 and 22 while the one in Hyderabad is likely to be on December 28 and 29. Nadda is expected to address the meeting via video-conference.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) contested 17 seats each in Bihar. While the BJP had won all of them, the JD(U) also emerged victorious in all but one constituency. The six remaining seats were won by another BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party, then headed by Ram Vilas Paswan.

While the BJP meeting in Bihar is expected to focus on 90 seats, the remainder 70 seats will be on the agenda at the Hyderabad exercise.

Key organisational leaders, including general secretaries Vinod Tawde, who is in charge, and Sunil Bansal, are among the BJP functionaries supervising the programmes where general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh may also be present, they said.

Sources said the party is working to expand its organisational machinery and boost its voter outreach in these 160 seats. It has also drafted a large number of Union ministers in the exercise, with the party top brass regularly holding review exercises.

The BJP had drawn a similar list of difficult seats in the run-up to the 2019 polls and had won a large number of them. It won 303 seats in the 543-member Parliament in 2019 against 282 in 2014.

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