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PM Modi establishes direct line with cadres to boost morale and lay strategy for 2019

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BJP believes these pan-India interactions, through video-conferencing, offer more personalised contact and cut logistical effort.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is establishing a direct connect with BJP workers of select Lok Sabha constituencies in the country through video-conferencing, an exercise that will continue until the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The party is of the view that these interactions give the PM a regular platform to not just directly communicate with workers across different regions and boost their morale, but also indicate the party’s strategy and line of attack to ensure cohesion ahead of polls.

“It is a significant thing when a booth worker gets to connect directly to PM and receives guidance on national issues as well as ground tips from him,” said a party source involved in the exercise. “The sort of interaction happening now reduces logistical effort, allows pan-India convergence and offers more close contact.”

Under the ‘Mera Booth, Sabse Mazboot Samvaad’ (my booth, the strongest conversation), the PM Thursday interacted with workers of five parliamentary seats — all belonging to union ministers.

Also read: To secure own turf, Modi holds three-day meetings with BJP workers in Varanasi

They include Arunachal West, the constituency of MoS for Home Kiren Rijiju, Jaipur Rural (I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore), Hazaribagh (MoS for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha), Nawada (MoS, MSME Giriraj Singh) and Ghaziabad (MoS External Affairs V.K. Singh).

According to top sources in the BJP, the constituencies were selected keeping two factors in mind — diversity and social media reach of the respective MPs, those with 3 lakh or more followers on Twitter.

First interaction took place in April

However, this is not first time Modi has undertaken such an initiative. In April, on the BJP’s 38th foundation day, the PM interacted with party workers of five other Lok Sabha constituencies and all 734 district presidents of the organisation in a similar manner.

While that was taken as more of a trial exercise, Thursday’s interaction marks a more formalised approach to the exercise, party sources say.

Going ahead, the party plans more such interactions with workers in the run-up to 2019. The frequency of these, though, is yet to be decided and will depend on the schedule and availability of the PM, sources say.

In Thursday’s interaction that lasted an hour-and-a-half, Modi focused on the primary objective of the exercise — motivating the grassroots BJP worker — while getting even more high-pitched in his attack on the opposition.

Modi also attempted to portray a more statesman-like image, stating his government was working for the welfare of all communities.

PM’s stresses on govt’s welfare initiatives

Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas is not just a slogan for us, it is something we have practised,” Modi said, claiming “his sisters Sarita, Sabeena and Sophia” were all equal beneficiaries of his Ujjwala scheme, just as “Rahman, Ratinder and Robert” were of the electrification scheme, Saubhagya.

The PM’s attempts at portraying his government as secular was in sharp contrast to some recent polarising statements made by his party leaders on contentious issues such as NRC, citizenship bill and cow vigilantism-related lynchings.

Claiming the recently-concluded national executive meet of the party had been “successful” and “full of self confidence”, Modi said BJP’s victories have been because of the hard work of its workers.

“The tree will be strong and yield fruits only if its roots are strong,” he said.

Also read: Amit Shah is jetting off to Rajasthan to pacify ‘angry’ party workers

Taking a dig at the Congress, Modi said it was only the BJP where “it is not because of one’s name, but one’s work that someone becomes a leader”. “Only in the BJP can a grassroots worker serve the nation at every level,” he said.

“I feel sorry for the old Congress workers who have struggled hard, but their struggle has been only to benefit one family. If their efforts didn’t benefit the family, then they would be out (of the party),” he claimed.

Continuing with his assault on the proposed idea of a grand alliance, the PM said this was nothing but a “group of opportunists coming together to hide their weakness”.

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