Debating India

BJP counts on caste, Vajpayee message

Benedict KAY

Sunday 8 February 2004, by KAY*Benedict

The BJP today unveiled intensive plans to boost its campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.

New Delhi

After the “successful conduct” of its national council meeting followed by the vijay sankalp rally yesterday, the party plans an “Atal sandesh abhiyan” that will continue through this month and cover the whole country. The thrust of the campaign will be on leadership, development and projecting a future vision of India.

Sources said Sangh parivar cadre will be mobilised to reach the party’s message to the people. The campaign would involve:

? Going to every village, knocking at every door and talking to everyone

? Each worker to highlight five failures and weakness of the Opposition

? They should propagate five political achievements of the party, five achievements of the NDA government and five aspects of the future of India

? Party conferences in every Lok Sabha constituency the BJP is contesting

? Meeting of intellectuals in 75 places across the country

? 100 major rallies

? Propagating the government’s “revolutionary” decision last week to regularise landholdings of Adivasis up to 1993

? Raising an election assistance fund of Rs 25 crore from party workers through donation coupons of Rs 10,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000.

The BJP is also trying to effect social engineering to put in place a winning caste combination for the elections, especially in the Hindi belt.

Lodh (backward caste) leader in Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Singh has returned to the party.

Three Rashtriya Janata Dal rebels from Bihar, including Union minister Nagmani, who is from an extremely backward caste, Sukhdev Paswan (a Dalit) and Anwar-ul Haq (a Muslim), joined the BJP a few days ago.

Today, Jai Narain Nishad, another extremely backward caste leader from Bihar, and Arvind Netam, a tribal from Chhattisgarh, joined the party.

Dalits, minorities and most backward caste representatives are joining the BJP, this trend is not confined to Bihar only, but every state,” party president M. Venkaiah Naidu said.

The party has constituted a nine-member parliamentary board. Besides Naidu, the others on the board are Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his deputy L.K. Advani, cabinet colleagues Murli Manohar Joshi, Jaswant Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and general secretaries Pramod Mahajan and Sanjay Joshi.

The parliamentary board will be assisted by a 17-member central election committee, which, apart from the nine members of the parliamentary board, will include eight others.

See online : http://www.telegraphindia.com/10402...

P.S.

The Telegraph, February 7, 2004.

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