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BJP finds unique way to mobilise funds

THE STATE Bharatiya Janata Party is making unprecedented efforts to make the proposed rally of December 24 a big success as not only its own prestige but also that of its star campaigner and Lucknow MP Atal Bihari Vajpayee is at stake. Moreover, the rally is being termed in political circles as the launch of the saffron brigade campaign for the coming Vidhan Sabha elections.

india Updated: Dec 09, 2006 01:48 IST

‘Tea with top leaders for Rs one lakh’

THE STATE Bharatiya Janata Party  is making unprecedented efforts to make the proposed rally of December 24 a big success as not only its own prestige but also that of its star campaigner and Lucknow MP Atal Bihari Vajpayee  is at stake. Moreover, the rally is being termed in political circles as the launch of the saffron brigade campaign for the coming Vidhan Sabha elections.

Not only this, it is probably for the first time that novel ways are being adopted to mobilise funds to meet the expenditure of the rally as well as that of the elections.

It is also for the first time that the ‘party with a difference’ is in touch with the authorities of the Indian Railways, asking for at least 16 special trains to bring the party workers to the State capital on the eve of the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on December 24 at Ambedkar Maidan.

Confirming that special trains were being arranged, State BJP president Keshari Nath Tripathi told the Hindustan Times that it was being done on the request of various district units as the number of participants was large and they could not be accommodated in the buses which were being arranged for the purpose. In addition to this, said Tripathi, the railway authorities were being requested to provide extra bogies in some of the trains to avoid rush and ensure comfort of the party workers. He claimed that over three lakh people would participate in the rally which would create history in the State capital.

The party is also tapping all possible sources to mobilise funds to make arrangements for the rally which will be attended by almost all the senior leaders of the BJP, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar and chief ministers of the BJP-ruled states besides others.   

Again, for the first time the BJP is seeking donations to meet the rally expenses and is collecting money for the coming Vidhan Sabha elections also, in the process. The ‘cost’ of  ‘earning’ the honour of being a member of the high profile Reception Committee constituted for the rally has been fixed at Rs 1 lakh with the promise that anybody who donates Rs 1 lakh would also have the ‘pleasure’ of the august company of national president of the BJP Rajnath Singh and other senior leaders and would also have the ‘honour’ to have tea with them before and after the rally.

Justifying this unique way of collecting funds, Keshari Nath Tripathi said that the party needed funds to meet daily expenses as well as election expenditure and there was nothing wrong if any party worker or office-bearer was willingly donating for the purpose. It was a common practice with every party to collect money but the BJP never went to the extent of ‘auctioning’ the party tickets, he added.

However, insiders tell a different tale, saying that everything is not as simple as it appears . They disclosed that a few selected organising secretaries, who had RSS background, were convening meetings of office-bearers and prominent workers in different parts of the State, urging them to donate liberally under the unique programme of ‘tea with leaders in exchange for money’.

The secret of the exercise, they disclosed, was that the organising secretaries with the RSS background had always played and would again play a decisive role in ticket distribution and as such anybody desirous of a ticket in the coming Vidhan Sabha election would not be able to say ‘no’. However, it is another issue that even ‘earning the honour’ of having tea with the party president would not guarantee the ticket.