Prime Ministerwill address a public rally in Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh (UP) to mark two years of his government on May 26. Several senior Cabinet ministers and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, too, will address a series of public meetings in UP. The state, which was the key to the BJP reaching simple majority in the Lok Sabha in 2014, is due for Assembly polls in early 2017 and this will be the party’s unofficial launch of its UP election campaign.
The PM will also visit his Lok Sabha constituency in Varanasi as part of the fortnight-long two-year anniversary celebrations. The BJP considers western UP its stronghold and the focus of the PM’s speech will be to highlight his government’s schemes for farmers, especially sugarcane growers, of the region.
There is also the possibility of increasing UP’s representation in the council of ministers. The party, in an effort to consolidate its Jat support base in western UP, has asked Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh to merge his party with the BJP. Singh, at least until now, is insistent that the two parties have a seat-sharing arrangement for the UP Assembly polls.