The Narendra Modi government's outreach to different sections of society is likely to be a key theme for the two-day BJP national council meeting starting here Friday as thousands of delegates arrive here for the mega event that will set the tone for the party's Lok Sabha campaign. BJP president Amit Shah will inaugurate the event while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to deliver the concluding speech on Saturday, which party leaders believe will lay down its agenda for the general elections. The passage of the bill providing 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education for economically weaker sections in the general category has boosted the saffron party's morale after it suffered a blow in the recent assembly polls where it lost power in all three states it ruled.
The BJP believes that the bill, which will come into force after getting the President's nod -- a mere formality -- will consolidate its core vote of upper castes in the Hindi-speaking states and also strengthen its appeal among political significant communities like Jats, Patidars and Marathas, among others. A section of the party believes that anger among upper castes played a role in its loss in the recent state polls. Party sources said the Modi government's measures, like granting constitutional status to the OBC Commission and strengthening the law on atrocities against Dalits and tribals, are likely to be highlighted and projected as part of its "social justice" project. Its measures for farmers, besides various schemes for the welfare of the poor and economic growth will also be discussed, they said.
Shah has often asserted that the BJP will win more seats than the 2014 polls, when it had won its first ever majority by bagging 282 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. BJP's rivals believe that the party is facing a resurgent Congress in several states while the expected alliance of the Samajwadi Party and the BSP will dent its prospects in Uttar Pradesh, making the likelihood of its repeat of 2014 feat challenging.