New Delhi: The BJP is failing to meet its target of communicating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in his 30 May letter to 10 crore families, despite its organisational strength.
Modi had written the letter on the first anniversary of his government’s second term, calling for a self-reliant India in the face of an economic crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown. He had also sought to highlight the decisions taken in the year, including the scrapping of Article 370.
The party had set itself an ambitious target to communicate the PM’s message in a month, but it has so far been able to distribute the letter to only 3 crore families, said sources in the BJP.
The party has been unable to reach out to people in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Coimbatore, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, among others, amid the Covid crisis, said the sources. These cities have been under stress as Covid cases have been rising significantly, constraining the party in its efforts at reaching out.
In a meeting with the party’s state presidents and general secretaries Friday, BJP chief J.P. Nadda expressed concern at the pace of the letter’s distribution. He asked the leaders present to galvanise the cadre to meet the target by the first week of July. He also instructed the state unit chiefs to reach out to booth workers to achieve this while ensuring physical distancing.
“We have achieved other targets in the month-long outreach efforts. But due to Covid spread and social distancing measures, we are facing problems in distributing the PM’s letter,” said a senior party leader who was present in the meeting.
“Somewhere people are in fear, workers are in fear. Major cities are in Covid crisis, so most of the targets we have not achieved are in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. In some cities we have suspended the programme, but now it has been instructed by the party president to take it forward in an aggressive manner,” said the leader on condition of anonymity.
What the party has achieved
In May, the BJP had also decided to organise 1,000 virtual conferences, 75 big virtual rallies by senior leaders and 150 press conferences to achieve its anniversary.
The party has already achieved its virtual conference target. It will also achieve the virtual rally target in the first week of July, said the sources.
Just a day before he expressed concern over the letter, Nadda addressed a virtual rally in Madhya Pradesh. He said the party had already done 45 virtual rallies, adding that it has reached 33 lakh people through these rallies.
He added that BJP is reaching the masses through these rallies even as many political parties are still in lockdown mode.
“Due to the pandemic we are a little slow in delivering the PM’s letter but in the coming days we will achieve the target. We are reaching out through other means where there is a problem. We are connecting through video and audio conferences to reach out to people. In (Home Minister) Amit Shah’s rally, we reached out to more than 10 lakh people,” said a leader in West Bengal BJP who didn’t wish to be named.
What the PM wrote
In his letter, PM Modi pushed the agenda of Atmanirbhar Bharat and stressed the need for becoming self-reliant. He said this “initiative will usher in a new era of opportunities for every Indian”.
Highlighting the Covid crisis, he wrote, “During normal times, I would have been in your midst. However, present circumstances do not permit that. That is why I seek your blessings through this letter.”
He also remembered key decisions taken in the last one year — from Article 370 and Ram temple to the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“In the last five years, the nation saw how the administrative apparatus broke itself free of status quo and from the swamp of corruption as well as misgovernance,” wrote Modi.