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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Forget candidate, ask for votes in name of Modi, BJP: Amit Shah tells workers in Karnataka

BJP chief Amit Shah, who was on a tour of poll-bound Karnataka, told party workers their duty is not to win the assembly constituency but the booth.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2018 20:16 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Hubballi
BJP president Amit Shah being felicitated at the fishermen's convention at Maple beach in Udupi, Karnataka, on February 20.
BJP president Amit Shah being felicitated at the fishermen's convention at Maple beach in Udupi, Karnataka, on February 20. (Arijit Sen / HT )

BJP president Amit Shah has asked cadres to seek votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has also finalised party’s social media strategy for the Karnataka assembly election expected to be held in the next two months.

Shah, whose two-day tour of the southern state ended Wednesday, has tweaked his now-famous panna pramukh (in-charge of a page in the electoral rolls) strategy for Karnataka by concentrating efforts at the level of booths.

“I appeal to workers, don’t look at the candidate. Just look at the lotus symbol (the party’s symbol) and Modi’s photo,” Shah said while addressing booth workers in Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district on Tuesday.

“Your duty is not to win the assembly constituency, it is to win your booth. When many such booths are won we will win the election.”

There are around 56,000 polling booths in the state, Election Commission data shows. A booth typically has around 1,200 voters, depending on the population of an area. Karnataka has around 490 million voters.

BS Yeddyurappa is the BJP’s pick for the chief minister in its bid to wrest the state from the Congress. The 74-year-old Yeddyurappa led the party’s first government in the south when the BJP won the assembly election in 200.

Spreading Shah’s message, BJP organisation secretary Arun Kumar on Wednesday asked workers to interact with voters and categories them as A+, A, B, and C in accordance with their support or lack of it for the party. Kumar was speaking in Kumta in Uttara Kannada district on Wednesday.

A+ are the hardcore BJP supporters who will vote come what may, A are ardent supporters, B are those who are sympathetic to the party and could be convinced to vote for it. The fourth category is the voters who don’t support the party.

The party is taking its booth-level approach to social media as well. Shah on Wednesday spelt out a 23-point strategy in a meeting with the party’s social media team in Udupi. Each person was asked to administer at least five WhatsApp groups to push the party’s campaign material, said a BJP leader who attended the closed-door meeting. The leader, however, didn’t reveal the number of people in the social media team.

While the party termed the poll strategy as novel, Narendar Pani, a political analyst and faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, said there was a danger of the BJP undermining its local leaders.

“In elections in Karnataka, and in India as a whole, there is a certain loyalty to the local candidate that could resist such centralised attempts to manage elections,” Pani said, who though the BJP’s strategy was similar to the Western approach of targeting individual voters.

Under this model, booth-level workers would tend to be young but older candidates and their views should also be valued, he said.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 15:14 IST

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