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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

BJP plans one manifesto for each constituency ahead of Karnataka elections

The BJP has crowd-sourced the manifestos, getting data separately from each of the 224 assembly constituencies of Karnataka.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2018 23:45 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party’s CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa during a rally in Bengaluru.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party’s CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa during a rally in Bengaluru.(AFP File Photo)

A poster hangs on the wall of a room in the bungalow at Sadashiva Nagar, a posh Bengaluru neighbourhood. It displays the names of each of the 224 assembly seats of Karnataka, and has three columns against each to show if data has been collected, received and tabulated from the constituency. All the columns are filled.

The data will go into the manifesto the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to prepare for each of the assembly constituencies ahead of the May 12 state election in which it is aspiring to return to power in the only southern state it has governed in the past. The BJP has crowd-sourced the manifestos, getting data separately from each of the 224 assembly constituencies.

BJP general secretary, Muralidhar Rao, the party’s in-charge for Karnataka, has overseen the exercise handled by more than two dozen young professionals operating out of a data centre from the Sadashiva Nagar bungalow. “It took about four months for the team to collect data from each constituency on issues that concern citizens of that area. The job is done and we will soon release the constituency manifestos,” Rao said.

Another BJP leader said the manifestos could be released on April 30.

The process started around December with the BJP identifying 500 influencers in each constituency of Karnataka. These influencers were people from varied social, economic and professional backgrounds.

These were salaried people, government employees, those having links with trade-specific associations (such as the fishermen’s association), businessmen associated with bodies such as chamber of commerce, and more. A data base of about 150,000 people was created before the exercise of collecting data from them was launched.

Each of these 500 influencers in every constituency was approached with a questionnaire about issues confronting the constituency that they considered important, and would want the next government to address. The response of each influencer was noted and then shared with the central data team based in .

Video footage and sound bites from several of these influencers were taken and a personal interview was conducted by BJP volunteers on the ground. A one-on-one interaction was conducted between some of the influencers and senior BJP office bearers.

Young BJP leaders then went through each input received from the ground, watched and heard each video and audio feedback that was received, scanned each questionnaire filled by the influencers and accounted for every response they received from party units in each constituency.

Most of the respondents had flagged issues related to development. The data was then fed o a specially designed computer programme to weed out duplication, scoop out the most relevant topics that were common to all responses and ensure nothing was missed.

After election dates were announced on March 27, the focus shifted to giving the constituency-wise manifestos the final touches.

“All this was done with a twin objective,” said the BJP leader cited above said. First, to ensure that the BJP has its ear to the ground and a direct connect with important people in each constituency. Second, the promises the party makes to the voters of Karnataka should have a local flavour,which resonates with the electorate in each constituency.

First Published: Apr 27, 2018 23:45 IST