Lucknow, Mar 12: To strengthen its base at village- level before the crucial 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, BJP has decided to test the waters "seriously" in the upcoming panchayat polls. The panchayat polls are slated in September and October.
"The party will give due importance to panchayat polls. We will contest it with all seriousness as decided in state executive meeting in Mathura in August as well as 'Chintan Shivir' of office-bearers in Chitrakoot recently," BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak told PTI today.
"On which posts the party will contest will be decided in due course," he said. He said panchayat polls are not held on party lines, but still photographs of leaders will be displayed along with the candidates.
"Local bodies' and teachers' group elections are not held on symbol, but parties contests them," he said.
Another party functionary said that through panchayat polls party's presence would at least be felt at village and gram panchayat levels.
"The party will contest these elections seriously. The party is of the opinion that leadership should be developed at the lower rungs, and therefore it should reach villages," he said.
"When we contest local bodies elections, then why not contest polls at gram panchayat level," he asked.
"Till now, we were not contesting these elections that seriously, but to remain active it was decided that the party should contest elections at the lower level. Therefore, we are preparing for the panchayat elections seriously," he said.
Pathak said when workers would be visible at local level, then there would be decentralisation of power.
"When a person is elected zila panchayat member, chairman or block development member, then he would be visible in his area and represent the party as well," he said.
BJP is on a major expansion plan in the state by planning to add 1.5 crore new members by the end of March. Till now the party has 30 lakh members, including 14 lakh old ones in the state.