In the wake of the Aam Aadmi Party’s successful door-to-door campaign in Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will now aggressively promote its “Narendra Modi for PM” message across the country through a new programme called “One vote, one note”.
Under the programme, billed to reach more than 100 million people, hundreds of BJP workers will go to households, pitch for Modi as PM and seek funds — from as low as Rs 10 to a maximum of Rs 1,000.
This public donation the BJP is looking at is on the lines of what the AAP relied on in Delhi.
The drive, which was finalised at a brainstorming session of five BJP chief ministers and the party’s central election committee on Tueday, is to ensure the BJP returns to traditional methods of electioneering.
This way, Modi’s appeal, which the party believes is exhibited in mass rallies, can be taken to the booth level and will ultimately get converted into votes.
Addressing the session, Modi exuded “full confidence” in the BJP securing more than 272 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 elections. Such a showing will give the Hindu nationalist party a majority on its own.
Modi pointed out that in 2009, in seats where the BJP placed second, the difference in the number of votes secured by the Congress and the saffron party was only 8.9 million.
The Congress added 90 seats to its tally because of this factor, he said.
“This time, with the addition of 12 crore (120 million) new voters in the last five years, many of whom who are put off by the Congress, our task to win those 90 seats and more is much easier,” he told party leaders.
Modi urged BJP workers not to be distracted by new issues or factors (read the AAP) and instead focus on the “inner strength” of the party’s network.
Party general secretary Ananth Kumar announced, “BJP’s ‘Modi for PM’ campaign will be on the lines of the JP (Jayaprakash Narayan) movement that was launched in the Emergency era to throw out the Congress government.”
Claiming that the Congress faced a situation similar to 1977 after the Emergency, Kumar said the BJP sensed the mood was strongly anti-Congress all over the country today. “It (1977) was a watershed year. Nobody thought the opposition could garner so many votes. The same mood has set in.”
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the party would also reach out to new voters by holding special functions to felicitate first-time voters. “The entire January will be spent canvassing among the new and young voters.”
Another mass contact programme will be to collect iron for erecting the world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat. The BJP plans to reach half a million villages for this initiative.
The party will also hold meetings in over 400 Lok Sabha constituencies before selecting its candidates for the polls. A national meet of party booth-level workers will be held on February 28 to discuss the micro-level management during polling.
In addition to a vision document, the BJP will come out a manifesto and a chargesheet against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
With an estimated 120 days left for the elections, the BJP will devote 60 days for preparations including selection of candidates and 60 days for actual campaign.
Referring to the recently concluded state polls, BJP president Rajnath Singh said, “We swept three states (Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh) and emerged the single-largest party in Delhi. We won 407 of the 589 seats. This has set the momentum for 2014.”
Senior party leader Arun Jaitley dwelt on the tactics of the Congress to stop the wave Modi’s favour by even becoming the “B” team of parties such as the AAP.
Sushma Swaraj, another senior leader, said the BJP’s campaign would be national in thrust but “local in favour”.
The party’s slogan, Nayi Soch, Nayi Umeed (New Thought, New Hopes), will be the mainstay of the party's drive for “Mission 272 plus”.