Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with Bharatiya Janata Party workers at 9 lakh polling stations on February 28, as part of the party’s preparation for the summer’s Lok Sabha election, two BJP leaders familiar with the programme said.
The party will also launch a “Mera Parivar, Bhajpa Parivar” (my family is with the BJP) campaign between February 12 and March 2, during which BJP workers will get 50 million houses to sport the party flag.
Modi’s interaction will be held through the NaMo App — the official mobile application of the Prime Minister that draws its name from the first two letters of his first and last name.
The BJP accelerated its poll preparation after a poor showing in assembly elections in December (it lost three Hindi heartland states). Soon after, HT reported, the Prime Minister embarked on an intense 90-day, 100-rallies campaign. On Saturday and Sunday alone, he addressed six programmes in six states.
The BJP has invited questions from party workers for the PM’s February 28 interaction, before February 15. Modi will answer a few of them during the interaction. A team at BJP HQ will monitor the preparedness for the event, which requires booth-level workers, the first line in the party’s outreach efforts, to download the NaMo app and make a donation between Rs 5 and Rs 1,000.
The PM regularly meets specific groups through the NaMo App, but the size of the audience has never been as large as it will be on February 28, one of the two leaders cited in the first instance said. Modi has held several “Mera Booth Sabse Majboot’ (my booth is strongest) interactions with BJP workers from different states, and the maha samvad (grand interaction) on February 28 will be a finale of sorts, this person added.
“He wants to speak to BJP workers at every location before the elections are formally announced and everyone gets busy” he said. The election commission is expected to announce the schedule of the Lok Sabha election in the first week of March.
“He will outline the importance of winning the coming election and what every BJP worker is expected to do,” the second leader said.
At the BJP’s national council meeting in New Delhi last month, Modi cautioned the party against any complacency, this leader said. Modi is the BJP’s star campaigner and remains a hugely popular figure. “All of you need to work hard at the booth level,” he told BJP leaders at that meeting.
The campaign to put up flags at 50 million houses is an exercise to maximise BJP’s visibility and show its dominance.
The BJP estimates that around 220 million people have benefited from the NDA’s welfare schemes and wants to make sure these people vote for it in the coming election.
Dr Sanjeev Tiwari, associate professor of political science with Delhi University, said such an exercise can be expected from the BJP which has a “well oiled” organisation machinery.
“There is no other cadre-based party which has such domination over such a large geographical area. Also, it has started preparing for elections when its rivals even don’t know how many seats they will contest. These two give an edge to Narendra Modi in the national election.”