Within a month of launching its membership drive, the BJP has added over 9.2 million people to its ranks.
The drive was launched on November 1 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. By November 27, more than 1.3 million had joined the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state that it swept in the Lok Sabha polls. Combined with neighbouring Uttarakhand, ruled by the Congress, the number stood at 1.8 million. “We are enrolling 55,000-plus members daily in UP and Uttarakhand,” BJP national secretary Arun Singh, one of the leaders in charge of the membership drive, said.
The saffron party is aspiring to become the world’s largest political outfit by surpassing the 86 million-strong Communist Party of China’s. The BJP currently has 32.5 million members.
In the Capital, where it has added 934,000 new members so far, the BJP has gone beyond the online or ‘missed call’ methods of recruitment, choosing to approach people on DTC buses, in universities, malls and colleges. “This time around we are using innovative methods to reach out to the masses,” said Ashish Sood, general secretary of the Delhi BJP.City barbers have been asked to spread the word and various associations —such as Sikh cells, RWAs and even doctors’ bodies — have been tapped. The BJP has also tied up with coffee shops and eateries popular among the young.
BJP sources said ticket aspirants for next year’s assembly polls have been told to enrol as many new members as possible, and that this will be factored in during candidate selection.
With elections most likely in February, the Delhi unit is chasing a target of 2.8 million new members by January. “The membership drive will give our workers an opportunity to turn the new members into voters as well. That’s why the drive in Delhi will end on January 15 while it will continue till March across India,” said a senior BJP leader.
The membership drive has also been brisk in Maharashtra (856,000 recruits), Gujarat (750,000) and West Bengal (225,000).
“We want BJP workers in every booth. On November 22, BJP president Amit Shah reviewed the progress of the drive and requested state units to give it a big push,” party national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.
Shah, party sources told HT, has also set a target of enrolling 850,000 “active members” — who would be eligible to hold offices from mandals to the party’s central unit — from among the new or primary members.
Every active member, in turn, would be required to enrol at least 100 primary members instead of the present requirement of 25 members.
“We will prepare a database of all such workers who have enrolled online. We will give them party I-cards, have all their details and communicate directly with them,” Singh said.
The BJP plans to complete the ‘online’ membership drive by March 31, which will be supplemented with a ‘manual’ drive focusing on remote areas and people with no mobile connectivity.