As BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi went around the country participating in Chai pe Charcha programmes, his constituency in Gujarat evolved a new one: Tiffin Baithak.
A typical Tiffin Baithak, lasting up to two hours, is led by senior leaders of the BJP women’s wing who invite men and women in a particular area or residential colony to sit around a spread of Gujarati snacks and discuss how they can be part of this “historic election” so that Modi becomes the prime minister.
“We take our tiffin snacks such as dhokla and fafda, and sit in a circle and talk. The idea is to make everyone feel important enough in this election. The women’s wing is totally in charge of the Tiffin Baithak programme here,” said Vidyaben Rajput, chief of the wing and two-time corporator.
The women’s wing has been conducting Tiffin Baithak for more than two months. “Chai pe Charcha was a good concept but it became too popular, so we worked this out,” said Sonalben Patel, vice-president of the wing.
At times, the women leaders happily accept snacks that their invitees bring to the Tiffin Baithak. “It becomes a very easy-going way to campaign. It’s also a homely atmosphere, so people ask us questions and tell us things that they might not have shared at a formal meeting,” said Rajput.
The BJP office has no count of the Tiffin Baithaks organised so far but Patel said they have had at least one a day, sometimes more.
“The baithaks have become popular and have been a great help in consolidating Modi’s campaign at the family and house level,” said Bharat Dangar, BJP Vadodara president.