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How Sonia, Rahul became BJP members

Mayawati, Manmohan, Sonia and Rahul have become new primary members of the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Ghazi Haidar Canal locality in Lucknow’s Rajajipuram, reports Manish Chandra Pandey.

lucknow Updated: May 13, 2010 00:43 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey

Mayawati, Manmohan, Sonia and Rahul have become new primary members of the Bharatiya Janata Party from the Ghazi Haidar Canal locality in Lucknow’s Rajajipuram. http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTEditImages/Images/namesake.jpg

Atal Behari Vajpayee, Hema Malini and Varun have also become BJP members from the same area, following the party’s recently concluded membership drive.

The drive, which was launched on July 6 last year, had “received a massive response”, BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh had claimed.

Now, a red-faced party has launched an internal enquiry to find out how so many people sharing names with prominent leaders cutting across party lines had enrolled from a small area in Lucknow. And if, as several BJP leaders privately allege, these are all fake entries, then the party’s membership drive will be called into question. “Many ordinary people share the names of these leaders, but isn’t it too much of a coincidence to find so many namesakes in such a small geographical area?” asked a BJP leader.

Then, he pointed out, leaders like Vajpayee, Hema Malini and Varun Gandhi are members from Delhi. “Why would they come to Lucknow to enroll as members?”

None of these namesakes have given full addresses or phone numbers, making verification virtually impossible.

According to the party’s rules, it has to start enrolling members afresh every 10 years. So, on July 6, 2009, when its enrollment drive began, the BJP’s membership stood at nil, meaning that everyone, right from party’s top leaders to workers would have to become primary members of the party all over again.

“You cannot possibly verify each and every name. An inquiry is on. Even a worst case scenario won’t mean that the entire drive is forged,” said Jai Prakash Chaturvedi, MLC.