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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

From caste engineering, BJP focuses on social engineering

Harinder Baweja, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 11, 2014
First Published: 00:46 IST(11/3/2014) | Last Updated: 11:20 IST(11/3/2014)

BJP managers behind Mission 272 — to get past the majority mark in the 543-seat Lok Sabha — have decided to go micro.

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While some in the party are focused on political engineering and working caste calculators to get allies on board, others are targeting professional groups.

In an exercise aimed at expanding vote banks, BJP is now launching groups like chartered accountants (CAs) for its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

On March 7, Piyush Goyal, national treasurer and convenor of the party’s information and communication campaign committee, issued an appointment letter to Uttam Prakash Aggarwal, a Mumbai-based chartered accountant, tasked to open ‘CAs for Modi’ chapters across states, districts and cities.

The mission: collect cheques for the party from CAs and their clients and rope them in as prospective voters, while spreading the message ‘Vote for Modi, vote for a decisive leader who will provide a strong government’. The BJP is leaving nothing to chance and is now taking the professionals-as-voters route.

Goyal told HT, “The party cells want to chip in to Mission 272. We are targeting professional groups to create a sense of identity.”

Next in line, after the recently set up ‘CAs for Modi’, are other target groups such as technocrats, lawyers and doctors.

Huge arithmetic goes into the creation of focused groups. In the case of CAs, for instance, Aggarwal said, “We have a captive audience with a databank of 0.25 million CAs and 1.25 million students studying accountancy. I am planning to personally approach each one of them.’ The outreach will not be restricted only to them. Through the accountants and students, the group plans to speak to their families, neighbours and clients.

Importantly, chartered accountancy firms are speaking to their own employees to spread the message.

Said Aggarwal, “I employ 200 people. Each of them has a family with at least two to three votes. My aim is to open 500 chapters across the country. Put together, the figure is in crores.”

Aggarwal has set about the task of appointing convenors in several states and his strategy, he says, is to empower CAs so they can have a say in the “national economic agenda of the next government. The 15th Lok Sabha didn’t have a single CA as a member.”

Goyal is in the process of launching other identity groups around technocrats and lawyers. As a BJP leader put it, “social engineering is getting the same importance as caste engineering.”


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