September 30, 2020

BJP looks to strengthen base in Bihar ahead of 2019

BJP president Amit Shah and Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi are busy strengthening the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Patna: With less than a year left for the 2019 general elections, the BJP is working on a strategy to strengthen its political base in Bihar where it is the junior partner in the state government led by the Janata Dal (United).

Sources said that the BJP’s state unit has decided to depute “Panna Pramukhs” at the booth level in order to mobilise voters. Party insiders claim that the strategy had worked in other states including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Tripura and Karnataka where the BJP managed to emerge as the single largest party.

BJP leaders said that the strategy was first successfully implemented by national president Amit Shah during the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. According to a source, the strategy if implemented in Bihar will also give the party an opportunity to involve a large number of RSS workers for electoral purposes.

The issue of “Panna Pramukh” is to be discussed during a review meeting with party functionaries this month. According to party insiders, Mr Shah is expected to chair the meeting in Patna.

“The sole aim to depute ‘Panna Pramukhs’ at the booth level is to propagate the works done by our governments at the Centre as well in the state. The issue of ‘Panna Pramukh’ was also discussed earlier in several other meetings,” BJP spokesperson Sanjay Tiger told this newspaper.

“Panna Pramukhs” are likely to resume their work within three to four months, he said.

A BJP source said that besides spreading awareness about work done by party governments, “Panna Pramukhs” would also be responsible for bringing voters to the polling stations.

The selection of “Panna Pramukhs” will be done by the booth-level committee. Each “Pramukh” will be responsible for a “Panna” which means a page in the electoral rolls. Each page in the list has names of around 60 voters and their job is to reach out to every voter mentioned on the page.

According to political analysts here, the appointment of “Panna Pramukhs” at the booth level may cause a dent in the Opposition parties’ vote share especially that of the RJD in the 2019 general elections as well as in the 2020 Bihar Assembly elections.

A BJP leader said, “It may work as an excellent means of voter mobilization if implemented in a proper manner.”

Observers are of the view that the RJD is trying to gain sympathy after its chief Lalu Yadav was convicted in fodder scam cases recently and the BJP’s gain during elections would depend on the success of their programme to carry the message of their development works through their mass contact programmes.

According to a BJP source, the party is also planning to depute working committee members to spend at least a fortnight each with district and booth-level workers to take stock of the situation.

Party insiders said that the strategy would be to win over a maximum of rural voters who are presently under the hold of either the RJD or the Congress.

According to BJP spokesperson Prem Ranjan Patel, “Separate programmes have been launched in order to reach out to a maximum number of voters and inform them about the policies of the government. This exercise will help strengthen our base at the grassroots level.”

He said, “The JD(U) and the BJP are natural allies and programmes which have been launched separately will only benefit the NDA during elections.”

Courtesy: The Asian Age

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