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BJP hopes Maharashtra win will boost its prospects in UP

By Mohit Dubey 

Lucknow, (IANS): Perked by its success in the Maharashtra civic polls, the BJP has decided to use it for a “major political push” to further its prospects in the remaining three crucial rounds of assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party strategists say the Maharashtra poll outcome is “certain to boost our prospects” in the Hindi heartland state.

The BJP on Thursday finished neck-and-neck with the Shiv Sena in the race for control of India’s richest and biggest civic body, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, and also grabbed eight other civic corporations in Maharashtra.

BJP state unit General Secretary Vijay Pathak confirmed to IANS that the ongoing polls were “indeed set to get a big fillip” in favour of the party.

“In the first four rounds, we have done exceedingly well and now that the BJP has shown great results in Maharashtra, it is but natural that our mission of 300-plus seats will be boosted,” he said.

Pathak also pointed out that Maharashtra has a sizable presence of people from Poorvanchal and it was only natural that “the winds of change will blow from Mumbai to Poorvanchal which is yet to go to polls”.

Party insiders said that so far they were “edgy” about the impact of demonetisation on the Uttar Pradesh polls, but now the tide was changing in their favour.

It is learned that BJP chief Amit Shah has told the state unit to milk the victories of the party both in Odisha and Maharashtra civic polls as an example before the “UP electorate”.

Shah said the party should highlight the “tight embrace of the BJP by people”, especially after demonetisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been referring to the poll results in Gujarat, Chandigarh, Faridabad and Odisha in his election rallies.

The big Maharashtra win will now find mention in his speeches as he pitches for a full majority in Uttar Pradesh, which in the 2014 general elections sent 71 BJP lawmakers to the Lok Sabha.

The BJP now wants the undecided voters or the fence-sitters to swing the saffron way.

“There are many seats where a small margin of one or two per cent can make or break the fate of our candidates. We now are working to ensure that it comes our way,” says a senior BJP leader, working in Poorvanchal.