The BJP meet near Indore to ratify the election of its youngest president Nitin Gadkari will focus on “politics for development” rather than ideology.
After the drubbing in last year’s elections, the big question — before the one-day meeting of its outgoing national executive on February 17 and a two-day session of its national council on February 18-19 —is how to revive the BJP’s future.
The answer that Gadkari and other BJP leaders appear to have come up with is to nudge the party to work seriously on a development plank and stop the chatter on old ideological issues that have lost their appeal.
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Saturday said the conclave would focus on development by re-working the party’s political agenda. It would seek to “demolish the arrogant and anti-poor” ways of the UPA II against issues like price rise, unemployment and internal and external security, including Kashmir, in the context of the fresh move for talks with Pakistan.
The BJP’s plan is to increase its vote share by at least 10 per cent. In 2009, the BJP could poll only 18.8 per cent, down by 3.4 percentage points since the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
A party internal document has concluded the party must woo both rural and urban India, which is “aspiring, assertive and impatient” and politically dischanted. It said the urban areas needed more attention because their population grew four times since 1961. After delimitation, 150 Lok Sabha seats have become urban. By 2030, 40 per cent of India’s population will be residing there.
The BJP’s problem is it could not connect with the middle class, youth and professionals, whereas the Congress has been traditionally good at capturing the votes of the poor, it said.
“Today’s 14-year-old will vote in 2014” is the message the party wishes to convey to its cadres.
Three exhibitions are being organised inside the conclave. One is on Gadkari’s pet Antodaya scheme for nudging BJP leaders to take up social welfare schemes. Another is on development work being done by BJP governments and a third is on BJP’s core beliefs.