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Wives of BJP MPs enter election mode at special workshop

The broad message from the event was that the wives should start building relationships with voters and party leaders and also spread word on the work done by the government.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2018 10:30 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bharatiya Janata Party,Amit Shah,National Democratic Alliance
Supporters of Bhartiya Janta Party wave party flags in Chennai on July 9.(AFP Photo)

Earlier this week, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionaries, including party president Amit Shah and senior ministers in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government attended an unusual two-day event in New Delhi and discussed the work of the government. The audience: the wives of BJP lawmakers.

According to two people familiar with the event who spoke on condition of anonymity, the 17-hour workshop for the wives of BJP MPs was organised at the party’s headquarters on New Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhayay Marg on Monday and Tuesday by Kamal Sakhi Manch, a forum of women parliamentarians and wives of BJP MPs.

“It was the first such event by the forum,” one of the two said. “The better halves of BJP MPs were also briefed on how to extend a helping hand to their husbands in discharging their duties.”

The event took place ahead of crucial state elections later this year (in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan), and parliamentary elections next year.

“We have attended several events in the past, but this one was special,” the wife of a BJP lawmaker said, asking not to be identified.

“All of us are getting ready for 2019 election. Each one of us has to behave like the brand ambassador of the party and (Narendra) Modi’s government.”

The event was inaugurated by the party’s general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s pointsman in the BJP. Senior ministers JP Nadda, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goel and Nitin Gadkari separately spoke to the audience too. And BJP chief Amit Shah joined them for an informal interaction over tea. 150 women, which included both wives of MPs and women MPs, attended the event.

The broad message from the event was that the wives should start building relationships with voters and party leaders and also spread word on the work done by the government. “We are told that all of us are one party, one family,” the BJP lawmaker’s wife mentioned in the first instance said.

For instance, they were told to stand in for their husbands and deal with issues of party workers and others. “We were told to deal with them in such a manner as to earn their appreciation,” the BJP lawmaker’s wife added. “We were told that while we may not be able to solve their issues every time, how we treat them is more important.”

Given the diversity of the MPs, the ability of their wives to reach diverse voter groups isn’t lost on the BJP. The audience was told that given their varied social and economic background, they could effectively communicate the government’s achievements to a wide swath of the electorate.

Kamal Sakhi was started about nine years back and has grown in size even as the range of its activities has expanded. Its members meet during every parliament session (this two-day meeting, the longest ever, took place during the monsoon session), and select one topic for discussion.

In the past the group has organised exhibitions on issues such as the model villages adopted by MPs and the Goods and Services Tax.

First Published: Aug 04, 2018 10:07 IST