iconimg Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 28, 2013
With more than 250 rallies planned in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, BJP prime minister candidate Narendra Modi is turning to online volunteers’ suggestions on the issues he should take up and highlight to connect with the masses.

For his rally at Ranchi on Sunday, which will be his first public appearance after he got a clean chit from a Gujarat court in connection with the 2002 riots, Modi has been flooded with suggestions.

He has been advised to talk about power problem, dearth of colleges and universities in the state for higher education, slow industrialisation despite the state being rich in minerals, tourism and tribal welfare.

Jharkhand, which has 14 Lok Sabha seats, holds big promise as well a major challenge for BJP as it had won eight seats in 2009 as against one in 2004.

One-time rebel leader and former CM Babulal Marandi has spurned the BJP's efforts to rope in his party into the NDA.

Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) reached an electoral understanding with JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar last week to jointly contest the Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand.

But BJP leaders count on Modi's "direct appeal" to woo voters. BJP's national IT head Arvind Gupta told HT that volunteers associated with Mission272+ have been providing inputs to Modi for his speeches at major rallies since some time now.

“Modi is receptive to the suggestions posted online and on-ground volunteering platform that serves as crowdsourcing to help the BJP in its mission," he said.

Gupta said Modi implemented several of these ideas in his previous rallies, including the ones in Mumbai and Dehradun recently. He said, "We provide a platform where volunteers can collaborate, contribute and campaign crowdsourcing ideas and solutions."