Inside BJP's war room in battleground Bihar

  • Binod Dubey, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Aug 26, 2015 00:17 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah is micromanaging the Bihar campaign at the grassroots level through three key men - union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, party state in-charge Bhupender Yadav and business professional Rituraj Sinha. (HT Photo)

The phones never stop ringing at the BJP's war room in Patna where more than 100 young IT engineers and management experts are running a hi-tech campaign to win the minds of a largely rural electorate.

These young men and women monitor the 245 video vans or ‘parivartan raths'(chariots) which criss-cross the state urging voters to reject the 'grand alliance' of Nitish Kumar’s JD-(U), Lalu Prasad’s RJD and the Congress .

The campaign this time is high octane and more colourful than even the one for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in which the BJP and its allies won 31 out of 40 seats in the state.

“The party in Bihar has launched its biggest ever election campaign in its history to paint the state saffron and meet its goal of 180+ seats in the upcoming assembly polls. The campaign strategists have planned meticulously for the ‘Sau Din’(hundred-day) drive, which began last month”, says party leader Sushil Kumar Modi.

For best results, the party tries to mix conventional campaign methods with the latest communication technology.

On Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging apps, there are hundreds of posts mostly playing on what Nitish and Lalu have said against each other before they teamed up against the BJP.

The Bihar campaign is micromanaged by Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah. He has handpicked three key men - union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, party state in-charge Bhupender Yadav and business professional Rituraj Sinha - to execute it at the grassroots level.

The campaign committee's target is to reach out to a minimum of three crore voters in 62,000 booths across the state.

"As per the direction of the party high command, each booth has to be visited thrice with the message of parivartan(change)” says Rituraj, who is the son of BJP MP RK Sinha.

The 'parivartan raths' aim to hold 1.25 lakh booth-level meetings during the 100-day programme, with the war room monitoring their progress real time through mobile-based software apps.

“This is a race against time and we don’t want to waste a single second,” says Rituraj, who constantly tracks over 500 workers engaged in the mega campaign.

Using latest teleconferencing appliances, the war room conveys messages from the party leadership to lakhs of volunteers and new members.

“While the drive launched with fanfare by our rival parties fizzled out, ours has been successful", Modi says adding that better discipline helps the BJP handle such a large scale campaign.
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