With the RSS insisting that the BJP go ‘back to basics’, party leaders will have to stay in tents and not in hotels when they meet in Indore next month for a conclave.
The party intends to send a message to cadres and masses that it is shunning “five-star culture” and returning to the roots.
Ahead of the conclave, to be held from February 17 to 19, new BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s pet scheme to convert the party into a NGO will be launched on February 11. Called the Antodaya Vikas Yojana, the project is to enable BJP MPs and MLAs to take up at least one social or developmental project for a pro-poor image.
Top RSS officials are believed to have told BJP leaders that they would signal a good beginning for revival by staying in tents and adopting a “simple” life-style approach.
Not all leaders, however, think it’s a great idea, considering they will have to equip themselves with
anti-mosquito mats and coils. Some think that the cost of housing more than 1,200 delegates of the BJP’s national council in tents may cost more than organising stay in hotels.
But they would rather follow the Sangh’s call for a “simple-living” than been seen as ones seeking comfort — when Gadkari is talking of bringing a new work culture and ensuring performance audits.
“One expects the tents at Indore would be hospitable for the delegates while being simple in concept,” said a senior BJP leader, adding that these tents might not be the luxury kinds that are put up for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and his guests when they visit the Rann. A party functionary said, “Even L.K. Advani and new BJP president Nitin Gadkari will stay in tents.”
Kailash Vijayvargia, Madhya Pradesh’s industries minister, who belongs to Indore, is supervising arrangements for the tents to come up over a 200-acre plot outside the city that will be named after late veteran leader Kushabhau Thakre.
The last time BJP delegates were housed in tents was during the Mumbai conclave in December 2005 after late Pramod Mahajan faced adverse publicity for holding a conclave at a resort to discuss the Lok Sabha poll defeat in 2004.
The party’s first conclave in 1980 when Vajpayee led Jan Sangh leaders out of the Janata Party to form the BJP was in tents. “I remember we were put in tents which became over-crowded,” said a senior leader.