The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit urged police on friday to take “strict action” against a Narendra Modi-fan group named Bharatiya Modi Army (BMA) launched in the state this week.
The BMA inaugurated its office in Srinagar’s uptown locality of Rajbagh on Monday.
The BJP complained that some “nefarious elements have floated an organisation” and its activities were “unknown”.
The letter, of which HT has a copy, further urged the inspector general of police (IGP), Kashmir, to take action against the group “so that the name of the Prime Minister and the party can be stop for malign (sic)”.
However, IGP Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani said he “hasn’t received any such letter as of now (till Friday afternoon)”.
On Monday, the BJP told reporters that it had no affiliation with the group and appealed to the people not to fall in the trap of these “selfish people”.
“We have no party under this name and whoever is using Modi’s or the party’s name must be exposed to the public,” said Ashok Kaul, state BJP general secretary.
BMA: An army of Modi fans
The BMA, its core members said, is an organisation of “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fans”, who have got together to spread the “mission and vision of Modiji” in regions where not many know about him and his work.
Panipat-based national president of the BMA, Rajeev Ahuja, told HT that the BMA was “an organisation and not a political cell of the BJP”. He also said the group had 19 state chapters across the country, including in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
“(The) BMA is basically a seven-year-old international network of Modi fans with over 14 lakh workers in India and 1.5 lakh workers spread over a number of foreign countries,” he said.
The cover image of a BMA Facebook page is a photo of Ahuja shaking hands with Modi. Other BMA posters available on the online portal carry mug shots of the PM, along with those of BMA office-bearers.
“All the people who are in BMA are people who love their country very much. We make it very clear to our supporters that we are not a political party and we won’t fight elections — if you have to vote, then vote for Modi,” said Ahuja.
“The BMA has worked in places where the BJP doesn’t have much presence — like the Northeast and Kashmir. In Kashmir, many people believe in the image of Modiji that’s created by the Opposition — a non-secular image. We are working tirelessly to make people understand that it’s not true.”
Ahuja added that he was associated with the BJP in the past and held a number of official posts.
Although the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP questioned the BMA’s work, he said, many BJP leaders support and “blessed” the the group’s work.
Manzoor Ahmad Khan leads the group in Kashmir. He said the body had been working at the ground level for the last six months and had a membership of around 9,000 — mostly Kashmiri Muslims.
“Our aim is to spread information regarding the good work that Modiji is doing — various social welfare schemes and development initiatives,” Khan said, adding that he had been leading BMA teams to interior parts of the state, informing people about schemes like Mudra Loan Scheme, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
He clarified that the BMA was not associated with the BJP and that its sole aim was to “promote Modi’s work and make him the Prime Minister for the second time in 2019”.