LS 2014: BJP Takes a Leaf Out of AAP Book - The New Indian Express

LS 2014: BJP Takes a Leaf Out of AAP Book

Published: 30th December 2013 07:14 AM

Last Updated: 30th December 2013 07:14 AM

The AAP’s dreamlike success has forced the mainstream political parties, such as the BJP, to do a re-think and get back to the basics to woo as many voters as possible in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

With just about four months to go for the elections, the party’s strategists are using every trick in the book to increase the number of its prospective voters. BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will engage with its volunteers -- a relatively new entity in the country’s political scene -- to spread the party’s message.

Modi will meet volunteers enrolled in the party under the banner ‘India 272’ -- the magical figure the BJP wants to attain on its own to form the government -- on January 9 in Delhi, to answer their queries and “inspire” them to work for the party till the votes are counted.

The main Opposition party is actively seeking volunteers, who may not become party members but can contribute time over the next three months, to build a buzz around Modi.

Like volunteers were the mainstay during the AAP’s electoral debut, people enrolling as volunteers for the BJP too are being asked to contribute by writing blogs, tweeting, online tasking and engaging in ground-level activities.

In the last two weeks, over a lakh volunteers have enrolled for the campaign. To reward them, the party has created a system where volunteers, who actively contribute through blogs and tweets, earn points. And the grand prize? “Volunteers earning maximum points will get to meet Modi on January 9,” a party leader said.

Following the AAP’s spectacular victory, parties like the Congress and BJP have realised that glitzy election campaigns may create a buzz, but reaching out to the voters is far more important. The Congress tweaked its manifesto writing style, as Rahul Gandhi began reaching out to the voters, and different groups to get their views. He has already held meetings with the minorities and voters in Rae Bareli to get their views -- a straight lift from the AAP’s campaign diary. The BJP set up a special website for getting ideas for its manifesto and received over 50,000 suggestions in the last two months.

The party also revamped its campaign, but is not ready to give credit to the AAP. “We have been doing this since the Jan Sangh days,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

Privately, BJP leaders agree that the AAP pressed all the right buttons while establishing contact with voters and collecting money, the way the BJP did in its infancy. However, over a period of time, the nature of election funding changed from collection drives to corporate funding.

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