There have been paksh pramukhs (party chiefs), shakha pramukhs (unit chiefs) and gat pramukhs (group chiefs). There’s an addition to this political jargon here. The BJP, keen to gift its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi contesting from here, has created the position of Page Pramukh or page in-charge.
The page referred to is the printed page of the electoral rolls in every booth. Parties have always had their trusted foot soldiers in charge of booth management and their best ones to handle difficult or sensitive booths.
The BJP here has taken this to a micro-level: every booth manager has further divided each page of the electoral rolls in his possession to eight-ten trusted party workers who have been designated Page Pramukhs.
Each Page Pramukh has the responsibility of say 10 families, all of whom he or she is personally acquainted with by the virtue of living as neighbours. The Page Pramukhs have been told that they must ensure that all the voters whose names appear on the pages allotted to them will vote on April 30.
“We have told each Page Pramukh that only this is his or her responsibility to ensure 100% voting by all names on his or her page. These are all people known to the Page Pramukh, so the voting percentage will be higher,” said Rameshbhai Rathod, in charge of booth number 155 on Ajwa Road.
This is the first time that election management in Gujarat has been taken to such a micro-level. If it completely exposes a voter’s political preferences, the party could not care less.
“The idea is to ensure 100% voting for the party. Each one of us is a Modi, not Modi-bhakt, but Modi in a way. We want to gift Narendrabhai the biggest margin in the country,” said Bharat Dangar, Modi’s election agent and party chief here.
There are 1,584 election booths in the Vadodara constituency, comprising seven assembly segments. The constituency has nearly 16 lakh voters. The BJP’s Balkrishna Shukla had won in 2009 by a margin of 1.36 lakh votes. The seat has been continuously represented by a BJP MP since the 1998 general election.