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BJP chief holds talks in Doon to chalk out ‘foolproof’ strategy for general election

BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday held interactions with party workers in Dehradun to chalk out a “foolproof” strategy to ensure that the party retains Uttarakhand’s all five Lok Sabha constituencies in the 2019 general elections

dehradun Updated: Jun 24, 2018 22:07 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
(From Left) BJP chief Amit Shah, party general secretary Ramlal, CM Trivendra Singh Rawat and BJP state president Ajay Bhatt at Social Media Volunteers’ Meet in Dehradun on Sunday.(Vinay S Kumar/HT)

BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday held interactions with party workers in Dehradun to chalk out a “foolproof” strategy to ensure that the party retains Uttarakhand’s all five Lok Sabha constituencies in the 2019 general elections, insiders said.

During back-to-back meetings, Shah interacted with “Vistaraks”, or, the party’s whole time workers, Dalit leaders and social media volunteers.

He also interacted with party legislators and ministers, followed by his interaction with members of the BJP’s state management committee for the parliamentary elections.

Out of these meetings the most crucial was said to be his interaction with 70 vistaraks. Deputed by the party about two years ago, they have been tasked with “monitoring” organisational work and development in all the (70) assembly constituencies in the state.

Most these Vistaraks are from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) background and directly report to the BJP national president.

Party insiders said Shah directly monitors “real time” movements of these whole time workers through a ‘Vistarak app’, a mobile application. In all, there are 4,200 vistaraks monitoring assembly constituencies across the country.

No wonder, soon after his arrival in Bijapur guesthouse here, the BJP chief had his first interaction with Vistaraks who had gathered here from the 70 assembly constituencies.

“We are here to present a real picture before him (Shah) not only with regard to the organisational issues but also with regard to the state government’s performance pertaining to development in each assembly constituency,” a Vistarak said requesting not to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.

“On the basis of our feedback, the party will decide about loopholes that need to be plugged, on the basis of which the party’s strategy for the next Lok Sabha elections will be chalked out,” said another Vistarak.

BJP state unit general secretary Naresh Bansal confirmed that the party’s strategy for the next Lok Sabha polls will be chalked out on the basis of the feedback Shah will receive from Vistaraks.

Later in the day, on the basis of the feedback relating to the constituencies, the BJP chief sought explanations from party legislators, the chief minister and his nine ministers.

The most crucial of Shah’s meetings was said to be his interaction with the party’s scheduled caste leaders and legislators. “The meeting was aimed to retain the party’s slipping mass base among the scheduled castes who combined with other backward castes constitute about 22% of the electorate,” said a party leader, who did not wish to be named.

According to him, like elsewhere in the country, the party is also losing its mass base among the SCs in Uttarakhnad after a series of incidents that were reported from other parts of the country.

“What added fuel to fire was a recent apex court ruling that did away with a provision for automatic arrests of those accused under the law,” said the party leader referring to the SC/ ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Equally important was Shah’s interaction with the party’s social media volunteers.

Bansal said: “He not only threw light on the dos and don’ts of social media but also told them (volunteers) how they can use it in the party’s favour ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.”

All the programmes in which Shah participated were, however, kept out of bounds for the media.

Shah wants BJP workers to social media vigorously

The BJP chief directed party workers to use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to vigorously publicise all pro-people projects and schemes introduced by the central government, ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections.

“A few tweets or a few lines on Facebook will not suffice. All our units looking after the party’s social media campaign will have to go beyond that,” a social media volunteer, who attended Shah’s programme, quoted him as saying.

“They will have to publicise in detail all pro-people schemes introduced by the central government, on all social media platforms”. Shah also “exhorted” the party members associated with the party’s social media wing to associate more members with it.

First Published: Jun 24, 2018 22:07 IST