**New Delhi: ** The Election Commission is yet to announce the Lok Sabha poll schedule but Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah have already carpet-bombed the opposition as the IAF targeted terror camps in Pakistan, giving the ruling party a head start.
While the prevailing nationalist sentiment favours the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shah is leaving no stone unturned to build a strong public opinion in favour of Modi’s “decisive leadership”.
The BJP’ core team is at work to ensure a second term for the party.
Although there are 32 senior leaders in Team Amit Shah, which include General Secretaries, Vice Presidents and Secretaries, there are around 12 who form the core of the party’s well-oiled campaign machinery.
IANS takes a closer look at Team Amit Shah dissecting their strengths and strategy.
Bhupendra Yadav, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Arun Singh, Ram Madhav, Muralidhar Rao, Dharmendra Pradhan, Prakash Javadekar and J.P. Nadda have already hit the ground.
Bhupendra Yadav: Known as a trusted lieutenant of the BJP President, the 49-year-old is a General Secretary and in-charge of BJP’s affairs in Bihar where the party is allied to the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) to take on the opposition’s ‘Mahagathbandhan’ led by Rashtriya Janata Dal.
A two-term Rajya Sabha member, Bhupendra Yadav was appointed BJP’s national Secretary in 2010 by then party chief Nitin Gadkari. Till then he was not a known name in the BJP but he rose the ranks after playing a key role in the party’s strategy in securing victories in the Assembly elections of Rajasthan (2013), Gujarat (2017), Jharkhand (2014) and Uttar Pradesh (2017).
His winning streak, however, did not continue in Bihar where the party faced a debacle despite all efforts from Modi and Shah. The defeat though could not waiver Shah’s trust in Bhupendra Yadav.
Considered a specialist in war room strategy, his moves based on the demography and voting patterns in the past helps the party.
His strategy has a mix of past experience, input of party workers and close monitoring of ground level work. He has also emerged as one of the prominent backward class leaders.
Kailash Vijayvargiya: Known for his excellent organisational skills, Vijayavargiya, a former Minister in the Madhya Pradesh government, has been tasked with the party’s highly ambitious efforts to make inroads in West Bengal ruled by the Trinamool Congress.
As a party General Secretary and in-charge of West Bengal, he has focussed himself in the state, leaving no stones unturned to turn the table in BJP’s favour.
West Bengal is a state where Modi’s charisma did not work in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the party won only two seats.
Ahead of the 2019 elctions, Shah has set a target of winning 22 of the 42 seats in the state with Vijayvargiya at the helm of affairs.
Vijayvargiya, who proved his mettle in Haryana, is credited with the party’s landslide victory in the northern state, where for the first time the BJP formed a government of its own.
Besides, strengthening the party organisation in West Bengal, he is also working on a strategy of finding winnable candidates and prominent public faces which the party lacks in the state.
He successfully brought former Union Minister Mukul Roy, once the right hand man of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, to the BJP fold. It was Vijayvargiya’s efforts that the Trinamool MP Saumitra Khan and Bharti Ghosh, once considered close to Mamata Banerjee, joined the BJP.
Arun Singh: Singh is the most sought out man at the BJP Headquartres. As a General Secretary, he not only manages Shah’s tour programmes but is also attached to his office.
Singh started his political career with the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and, after holding several posts in the party, joined as General Secretary in Shah’s team.
He played a key role in BJP’s membership drive and for that he was awarded the key organisational post. Singh is also in-charge of party affairs in Odisha, where he has the tough task of dethroning Naveen Patnaik and winning as many seats in the state.
Murlidhar Rao: Rao, a key member of Team Shah, holds the responsibility of General Secretary and has been assigned the charge of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
His main task is not only to strengthen the organisation in the southern states but also to look for possible allies. Before the Lok Sabha polls, he is making every effort to form a BJP government in Karnataka, currently ruled by Janata Dal-Secular and Congress.
Rao, who joined the BJP in 2009, was attached to then party chief Rajnath Singh and was later promoted as the party’s national Secretary by Nitin Gadkari.
Anil Jain: He is among one of the eight General Secretaries and has recently been appointed election in-charge of Chhattisgarh, where the BJP was routed in the 2018 Assembly polls.
He has an uphill task ahead of him in Chhattisgarh. In 2014, the party had won 10 of the 11 Lok Sabha seats. It will be a challenge for him to maintain that number.
Sources close to him told IANS that his management skills first drew Modi and Shah’s attention during the 2012 Gujarat Assembly polls. He manages the election rallies held by Modi and also plays a crucial role in booth management.