New Delhi: The BJP has started gearing up for the Bihar assembly elections, due in October-November this year.
According to BJP leaders, the party’s first major election campaign will start with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on 31 May — the day after the government completes one year of its second term.
BJP leaders said the party will launch a programme, ‘Pradhan Mantri Ke Mann Ki Baat, Saptarishi Ke Saath’, on 31 May. Under this, ‘saptarishis’ — the seven-member committees of every booth in Bihar — will listen to the PM’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ and then relay his message to the people to mobilise support ahead of the election.
The BJP has asked 67,000 booth pramukhs (in-charges) in Bihar to ensure that booth members listen to ‘Mann Ki Baat’ with saptarishis.
“The first step for election preparedness is booth-management. BJP has a very vibrant booth-management system, our election of booth pramukhs at all the 67,000 booths has been completed. We have appointed assembly seat in-charges recently, now we are in the process of forming saptarishis at every booth. By next week, this work should be completed,” Bihar BJP MLA Prem Ranjan Patel told ThePrint.
“It has been communicated to every booth to organise special arrangements at each booth to listen to ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on 31 May. The programme will be called ‘Pradhan Mantri Ke Mann Ki Baat, Saptarishi Ke Saath’. This way, we will galvanise 4 lakh 70,000 committee members to spread the PM’s message to the grassroot voters,” added Patel.
The party has asked all the constituency in-charges in Bihar to form saptarishis by next week.
Covid, migrants, Bihar floods — BJP’s poll planks
Asked about the main planks of the party’s election campaign in Bihar, a BJP official said the government’s handling of the Covid crisis and the migrant workers, last year’s floods and the state administration’s development work will be the major issues.
“We are making poll strategies based on these issues. The state government is more proactively making arrangements for supply of food grains, generating employment through MGNREGA, skill-mapping of other migrants and incentivising them through cash,” added the official, who didn’t want to be named.
“The PM’s proactive approach in handling the Covid situation will be a major talking point, besides the Rs 20 lakh core package for the poor. All these will be communicated to booth presidents and saptarishis in the coming days,” said the official.
The saptarishi model
The BJP has asked booth in-charges to form seven-member committees, which will be called saptarishis.
These seven members will be the booth in-charge, booth vice-president, booth general secretary, booth palak (the senior member of the booth), a woman, an SC and an ST member, said MLA Patel.
“While setting up these committees, every caste should get representation,” he added.
BJP national secretary Rajnish Kumar told ThePrint the idea is to get booth committees involved in all the party activities — starting from initial poll campaigning.
“They are actual foot-soldiers who communicate with voters at the grassroots, they manage the booths and help in transferring votes. So, we have to make their participation more vibrant. If they will understand the message of the national leadership properly, then only they will be able to communicate that message at the local level,” Kumar added.
‘Preparing to fight the election with coronavirus’
The BJP has appointed its senior members, MPs, MLCs and office-bearers as constituency in-charges or ‘vidhan sabha prabhari’ for the Bihar elections.
The party has also constituted mandal committees in each of the 224 constituencies in the state. Every assembly seat has 5-6 mandal committees.
A second BJP functionary said by the end of this month, the party will be ready with its organisational set-up for the elections.
“Coronavirus will stay, so we are preparing to fight the election with the virus. We will focus on relief work, but side by side, we will start preparing for the election too. Our state president is regularly interacting with district presidents, mandal presidents and MLAs through video conferences for poll strategies,” he added.
A third BJP leader said in the last 15 days, party’s national president J.P. Nadda has interacted with district presidents, general secretaries, MLAs, MLCs from Bihar in three different sessions to take stock of the current political situation arising out of the Covid crisis and also about the party’s preparation for the assembly elections.
Nadda is monitoring the state unit’s poll preparation regularly, besides the Covid relief work in the state.
“Although Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is the captain of the alliance but after the party’s defeat in Delhi and Jharkhand, the party doesn’t want to take any chance,” he said.
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