With the assembly elections of 2017 in sight, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership is working hard to strengthen its cadres in therural areas, which is otherwise considered a stronghold of its alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
BJP leaders are regularly organising meetings even in small villages in the farmer-dominated district. According to party sources, all the leaders of the party, especially those of the Kisan Cell, have been told to approach farmers in their respective areas and appeal them to join the party. The aim is to improve the performance of the saffron party in the upcoming municipal committee elections, which are considered the semi-finals to the assembly elections.
"Yes, all junior and senior leaders of the party are working to strengthen the party at the booth level, especially in the rural areas," said BJP's state secretary Jatinder Kalra.
He said that 65,000 members have been registered in the district since the membership drive was launched on November 1. "The response has been very enthusiastic, we are hopeful of achieving the target of inducting 1,30,000 new members from the district by March this year," he added.
On whether the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).and Vishav Hindu Parishad (VHP) were also helping the party to improve its base in the Hindu- dominated areas, Kalra said, "No, the RSS and VHP have nothing to do with the membership drive of the BJP, but the people are impressed with the working style of Prime Minister Narender Modi. The Modi factor is working well in urban as well as rural areas as more than 9,00,000 people have joined the party in the state since November
When asked whether the party was in talks with any big leader of other parties he said, "Recently a senior SAD leader from Lehragaga, Niranjan Singh Bhutal has joined BJP."
"I cannot say whether leaders of other parties are also ready to join BJP," he said, adding that if anybody wants to join the BJP they are welcome
Kalra said that party has planned four big rallies each one in Malerkotla, Sunam, Sangrur and Barnala in which senior leaders from party's central leadership will participate.