New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s latest membership drive has come as a big boost for states where elections will be held later this year and next year. In Delhi, where the BJP is hoping to unseat Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party government, it has far exceeded its target and more than doubled its existing membership.
According to Harshdeep Malhotra, the co-convener of the membership drive in Delhi, the BJP had set a target of adding 10 lakh members, but it has now more than 17 lakh new members, to add to the 14 lakh the party already had.
“The membership drive in Delhi had a dual purpose as not only did we add members, but we also used this opportunity to reach out to people and make them aware of the Kejriwal government’s failure,” Malhotra told ThePrint.
“The drive is proof that people are fed up of the AAP government and want a change. We are confident of crossing 20 lakh new members as we are still getting calls.”
The BJP hasn’t been in power in Delhi since 1998, but swept the Lok Sabha polls in the city this year by retaining all seven seats, which sparked fresh hope for the party to win the assembly polls again.
Maharashtra & Haryana also exceed target
In Maharashtra, the drive was affected due to floods, but the state unit has been able to get 52 lakh new members as against the target of 50 lakh. “They are confident of reaching 70 lakh as the numbers are still being collated, and in states where elections are to take place, we have given them some additional time,” Gautam added.
In Haryana, where Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is hoping to retain power, the party has achieved 7.26 lakh new members as against a target of 6 lakh, said a senior BJP leader.
Dushyant Kumar Gautam, BJP’s national vice-president and co-convener of the membership drive, said leaders in poll-bound states were asked to give more focus to priority areas.
“Whether it is Maharashtra, Delhi or Haryana, people have shown tremendous interest in becoming part of the BJP. All this is because of the good work done by PM Modi at the Centre, whether it is abolishing Triple Talaq, Article 370 or any other decision in national interest,” he said.
Happy with the response of the membership drive, which has crossed 4 crore nationally, the BJP is now planning to hold a felicitation ceremony by the end of the month to thank all the in-charges and those who were part of the drive.
The party had earlier undertaken a membership drive through missed calls, but this time, workers were asked to visit booth level members to verify their authenticity, the leader said.
The BJP is now running a campaign to create “active” members — that is, members who take part in party activities.