New Delhi: In a closed-door meeting held on Thursday late night by Union Home Minister and former BJP national president Amit Shah in Kolkata before his departure for New Delhi, Shah instructed the state party leadership to undertake a campaign called “Duare BJP” (BJP at the doorstep) in a bid to reach out to the people of Bengal directly.
According to sources in the BJP, Amit Shah has told the state leadership that instead of planning mega rallies they should focus more on reaching out to the electorate on a one-on-one basis to disseminate the message of the party and what the party would ensure if it is elected to power.
A senior BJP leader, who is aware of the meeting held at the hotel where Amit Shah was staying in Kolkata, told this correspondent, “Every time Amit Shah visits Bengal, he gives the state leadership a new campaign to undertake. This time, he has told the state leadership to reach out to the maximum number of people through the Duare BJP programme. This programme would mean that the BJP leadership would have to undertake door-to-door campaigning for the party at the booth level across the state. They will have to establish connections directly with the electorate and convince them that the BJP is the best alternative to the Trinamool Congress in the state. Shah has also asked the Bengal leaders to highlight to the electorate the issue of corruption and hooliganism of the TMC.”
The closed-door meeting chaired by Amit Shah saw the attendance of the BJP’s core team for the elections, including state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, national vice president Mukul Roy, Bengal observer and national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, state BJP general secretary (organisation) Amitava Chakraborty, national joint general secretary organisation Shivprakash, and newly inducted leader Rajib Banerjee. Suvendu Adhikari, however, could not attend the meeting since he had a pre-planned road show in Medinipur the next morning.
The meeting went on till late into the night, after which Shah left for Delhi.
In the meeting, according to sources, Shah pulled up the state leadership of the BJP for investing too much time and energy in the optics of road shows and organising “mega rallies”. He instructed them to focus on organising smaller road shows and rallies in every Assembly constituency of the state.
“Amit Shah has clearly told the state leadership that they are focusing too much energy and resources in organising ‘mega shows’ and this, according to Shah, would not bring them electoral dividends. He has instructed them to hold smaller sabhas in each Assembly constituency, and right up to the block level, so that the party connects with the people. He has also given strict instructions to the state leadership to take along the district leadership and booth workers and have said that he has been getting reports that the state leadership is busy only highlighting themselves through big rallies,” said the senior BJP leader.
As for the “Poriborton Yatra” (Rath Yatra) which is being undertaken by the BJP in Bengal, Shah has told the state leadership to stop the vehicle in villages and at prominent spots and engage with the people. He has asked them to hold nukkad sabhas along the route of the rath and take feedback from the people.
Sources in the state BJP told this correspondent that reports were sent to the Centre that the main purpose of the “Poriborton yatra” which was to disseminate the message of change to the electorate and to the ground, was not happening since the rath was just travelling around and most of the leaders in the rath were busy “merry-making” than actually working to get electoral dividends for the BJP.
Shah has also asked the state BJP leadership to take every BJP worker along and work together for the party, irrespective of them coming from any other party or being the old guard of the BJP, as according to Amit Shah, every leader has something to bring to the party and, therefore, everyone has to work together.
Reports of major factionalism between the old guard and the new entrants were rampant across several districts in the state, which had put the party in a fix in the last few weeks.
However, since Friday morning, the state leadership of the BJP has been holding a series of meetings with their district leadership to disseminate the message from the top leadership of the party and, therefore, a new approach of campaigning is likely to be launched by the state unit in the coming days.
Sources in the BJP also said that Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are also likely to visit Bengal in February itself and, therefore, preparations are also underway to organise their meetings and rallies in the state.