New Delhi: A day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J.P. Nadda asked state units to learn from the ‘Gujarat model or organisation’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar for the party’s Praja Sangrama Yatra which concluded last month.
The yatra, which was part of the BJP’s all-out efforts to dislodge the KCR-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi’s (BRS) government in Telangana, saw public participation in large numbers.
Modi, intervening on the first day of the BJP national executive meet in Delhi, spoke about how BJP’s Telangana unit led by Sanjay completed the foot march despite challenges faced in a non-BJP-ruled state.
Terming the Praja Sangrama Yatra a valuable lesson for the party’s units in opposition-ruled states, Modi said the initiative exhibited that state leaders should lead from the front. “He (Sanjay) did not want language to be a barrier. And since he felt so deeply about the yatra, he put in a lot of effort to complete it,” Modi was quoted as saying by a senior BJP leader who attended the meeting.
Modi also asked Nadda to send five members each from the party’s various morchas to Telangana for observing how Sanjay’s team organised such a massive yatra. Such a move, party insiders believe, will also boost the morale of the Telangana unit.
“During the discussion on Telangana, Bandi Sanjay gave a presentation on Praja Sangrama Yatra and narrated how the state unit planned the foot march despite constant obstacles. For the five-phase yatra spanning 18 districts over 116 days, the party received 42,940 missed calls (from those looking to connect). Soon after the yatra, a wave for change is visible in Telangana,” the senior BJP leader said.
In his hour-long presentation, the Telangana BJP chief told senior leaders that voters in the state have made up their minds to overthrow the incumbent. Sanjay said the yatra found resonance with voters and created awareness about the KCR-led government’s shortcomings, the BJP leader told ThePrint.
Sanjay further said the idea was to consult with caste groups and hold small and large public meetings, besides going on temple visits. He also said the BJP’s Telangana unit will launch a bus yatra “very soon” since it is the preferred mode of transportation for thousands.
While Sanjay started his presentation in Hindi, Modi asked him to do it in Telugu since it would allow him to express his emotions more clearly. BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh, who is in charge of Telangana, acted as a translator for Sanjay.
While Modi did not name Rajasthan or Chhattisgarh, where elections are due this year, party insiders believe his praise for the Praja Sangrama Yatra was a hint to the units in both opposition-ruled states where their efforts — for instance, the Jan Aakrosh Yatra in Rajasthan — did not get the kind of support the BJP was hoping for.
“I have made a presentation and the Prime Minister praised our yatra and suggested that leaders from other states take note of the initiative,” Sanjay told ThePrint.
In his interactions with party leaders, Modi also praised the West Bengal unit for its campaign against the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government. “No amount of praise is enough for turning BJP’s prospects around in the state,” he said.
Meanwhile, the BJP national executive unanimously decided to extend Nadda’s tenure as BJP president till June 2024.
Also Read: Nadda’s message at BJP national meet: ‘Learn from Gujarat, can’t lose single election in 2023’
Thrust on cultural exchange initiatives
Cultural exchange programmes like the Kashi Tamil Sangamam, along with the Tiranga Yatras undertaken by BJP cadres in the run-up to Independence Day last year, were among the initiatives that found mention in the political resolution passed on the first day of the meet.
Meanwhile, Modi asked BJP leaders to organise more cultural exchange programmes and festivals to bridge the cultural gap between states. His remarks came in the form of an intervention during a presentation by Tamil Nadu BJP chief K. Annamalai on the success of the Kashi Tamil Sangamam which hesaid saw the participation of more than one lakh people from Tamil Nadu.
During a meeting of BJP’s office bearers in December, Modi had advised party leaders to observe foundation days of other states in their respective states. It will help more people to associate with the origins of their fellow Indians living in another state, he had said.
With the Union budget around the corner, efforts to disseminate its larger message at the grassroots were also discussed during the national executive meet. For this purpose, Modi suggested that the party rope in policy-makers and non-political personalities at the state, district and booth levels to break down the budget in simple terms. These individuals should also compare what the central government has given to states in the budget because opposition parties twist facts sometimes, he said.
Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present the Union budget in Parliament on 1 February.
In the socio-economic resolution adopted on the second day of the national executive meet, the BJP said that policies steered by Modi have taken the country to a “politics of saturation and governance of saturation”. The Modi government’s interventions, it added, turned the Indian economy from a placeholder in the ‘fragile five’ into the fifth largest economy in the world.
Meanwhile, the party in another resolution lauded the Modi government for its efforts pertaining to the G20 presidency and the construction of a Ram temple. This resolution was moved by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and seconded by Union minister V. Muraleedharan and Haryana BJP MP Sunita Duggal.
Briefing reporters Tuesday, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the Opposition ridiculed the BJP earlier for its failure to establish a clear timeline for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya. “Now, a timeline has been announced. It is a matter of great pride for us that the government is making an effort aimed at ushering in a cultural and religious renaissance,” he said.
Pradhan also said that earlier, the central government’s economic policy was only for a few entitled people. “But since 2014, the PM has made policies for everyone. It has become a governance of saturation where government schemes are for everyone and those at the bottom of the pyramid are getting doorstep delivery (of government services), whether digital transactions or Garib-Kalyan-Yojana,” he said.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
Also Read: ‘Taskmaster who delivers’ – how Telangana ex-chief secy Somesh Kumar became crucial to KCR