New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning a massive outreach to establish a deeper connect with women in tribal areas and from marginalised sections in the run-up to nine assembly polls slated for later this year, followed by the 2024 Lok Sabha election, ThePrint has learnt.
The BJP Mahila Morcha — women’s wing of the party — has come up with a ‘Kamal Doot’ abhiyaan to get women at the gram panchayat level on board. These chosen ambassadors will then take part in training sessions, where they will be familiarised with central government schemes so that they can then inform others about the same. A mega rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for these ambassadors (kamal doots) will also be organised by the end of this year, said sources in the party.
Meanwhile, the Morcha is also planning to start training programmes for women cadres from across the country this month, to ensure that they are up-to-date on all government schemes and can communicate the same to the masses.
“Sometimes our own karyakartas (cadres) may not be well-versed with government schemes. They should be well-equipped and knowledgeable about a particular scheme if a common citizen approaches them seeking help,” BJP Mahila Morcha chief, Vanathi Srinivasan, told ThePrint.
She added: “We are preparing for such online training sessions for the workers’ benefit. This will help us reach more voters and women beneficiaries also.”
The Mahila Morcha has also charted out a plan to reach tribal women in different parts of the country, by appointing tribal women ambassadors to increase awareness of various tribal welfare programmes run by the Union government.
The underlying idea behind the initiative is inclusion, said BJP Mahila Morcha spokesperson and Meghalaya election co-in-charge Neetu Dabas.
Dabas added: “This is a significant time for our country as we also have a president from the Santhal community.”
Droupadi Murmu’s election as India’s 15th President last year was seen by many as a bid by the BJP to woo tribal voters.
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‘Trying to bring all women along’
Tribals constitute a significant chunk of the voting population in the nine states that will go to the polls later this year. Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland — where voting will be held in February — have over 32 per cent, 86.1 per cent and 86.5 per cent tribal populations, respectively, according to government estimates.
Twenty of the 60 assembly seats in Tripura are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs), 55 of 60 in Meghalaya, and 59 of 60 in Nagaland.
“We don’t want any community to stay untouched from development. We want to hear from them and thus, also want their support and vote for the party. We are targeting both government schemes beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries so that no one is left behind,” Dabas told ThePrint.
Apart from tribal voters, the women’s wing of the BJP is also trying to reach out to and influence young women voters by organising interaction programmes with senior women leaders of the party.
Later this year, the party plans to organise Smart Women Leaders’ Sammelan to mobilise intellectual and influential women, besides organising seminars in top women colleges in the country, said sources in the Mahila Morcha. It will also launch a ‘selfie programme’, targeting one crore women beneficiaries of various schemes with the hashtag #SelfieWithLabarthi to popularise the central government’s schemes.
“Earlier, Mahila Morcha had the image that it only protests when there is inflation, using gas cylinders. But in recent years, the role of Mahila Morcha has become much more significant. We are trying to bring all women along with the visionary leadership of our Prime Minister,” said Srinivasan.
Despite the language barrier, the Mahila Morcha chief — who campaigned for the party in Himachal Pradesh — is all set to canvas for BJP candidates in Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya.
The turnout of women voters was higher in all four states where assembly elections were held last year, namely Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
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