BJP to run campaign on CAA, NRC in 12,000 UP villagesUpdated: Dec 15, 2019 22:45 IST
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh is looking to take issues like the National Register for Citizens (NRC), Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to the villages where it plans to market them as achievements of a ‘nationalistic’ government.
Across the state, the BJP has identified over 12000 villages, evenly spread across the state where it would run a systematic, sustained campaign on NRC and CAA till January 30.
Protests against the CAA have also been witnessed in several UP cities like Bareilly, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur. However, party functionaries say that more than urban areas, they would be targeting rural areas to dispel myths on citizenship. The rural outreach would also have the twin benefit of galvanising the party’s cadre at booth-level upwards and of sensing people’s mood, party leaders say.
“The cadres have their task cut out. We now have a younger team at the grassroots as after their recent election to the post following organisational polls, the average age of our functionaries at booth, divisional and district level is anywhere between 30 and 40 years,” a BJP leader said.
“These young functionaries would tell the rural masses how the Congress and other opposition parties played dirty politics on issues like Ram temple, Article 370, triple talaq and most recently on the issue of NRC and CAA. We plan to counter their politics with our outreach initiative,” the party functionary said.
In Uttar Pradesh, 299 of the 403 assembly segments have a rural character.
BJP’s organisational polls in the state are nearing completion. The formality of electing present state unit chief Swatantra Dev Singh to the post for three years is expected to be over this month.
Though he isn’t expected to change much, Swatantra Dev would then pick his new team of office bearers. The panchayat and teachers’ and graduate constituency polls, slated for 2020, would be his first challenge ahead of the 2022 UP polls.
This outreach, on NRC and CAA would hold the BJP in good stead, party strategists hope.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has said the day when CAA was passed was a black day in the country’s constitutional history, thus setting the agenda before the Congress-led opposition. The BJP’s rural outreach is aimed at not only countering this, but also connecting with the masses.
“There is absolutely no ambiguity in our approach. Yes, we do intend to tell them that while NRC would weed out ‘ghuspaithiye’ (intruders), the CAA would ensure that those who respect our country are welcomed. So, in essence the twin processes would ensure that only those who believe in ‘Bharat Mata’ (mother India) remain in the country,” a BJP leader said.
The campaign would also be run in Muslim-dominated villages where the party’s minority morcha aims to tell the community that Indian Muslims have nothing to lose due to CAA.