Taking a cue from the CPI(M), which has a system of cardholders to work for candidates in their constituencies, a senior BJP leader has come up with his own system of saffron cardholders.
Keen to contest the Lok Sabha poll from Rampur, BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is raising an army of 20,000 dedicated workers, handing each of them a card that bears Naqvi’s picture and names him as a BJP functionary in charge of a particular area.
These workers are accountable to Naqvi, who won the seat in 1998, and is keen to wrest the seat from former Bollywood star Jayaprada, who defeated Congress stalwart Begum Noor Banu as a Samajwadi Party candidate in 2004.
Naqvi could not contest the last polls from Rampur, which boasts the maximum number of Muslim voters among Lok Sabha constituencies, because of a BJP fiat barring Rajya Sabha members from contesting the general elections. This time, Naqvi, like other RS members, has decided to enter the fray.
Naqvi thought of “empowering” BJP workers with a card in the course of a special campaign directed by BJP president Rajnath Singh for setting up “booth-level” committees to woo voters. At least, 5,000 of them are Muslims who have enrolled in the BJP to campaign for Naqvi.
Naqvi said he considered the CPI (M) cardholders (though they are not known to flaunt them on their shirts) as an effective arm of the party when it came to poll work. “Normally, our BJP workers do not carry any identity tag. With a card that proudly identifies them, our workers who function at the levels of panchayat, nyay panchayat and block will be encouraged,” he said.
Many BJP workers say they will be “respected” by district officials when they sport the card at a local level.
“I think other BJP MPs will like the idea when they see the impact at Rampur,” Naqvi said.