BJP Takes Leaf Out of AAP Book - The New Indian Express

BJP Takes Leaf Out of AAP Book

Published: 29th Dec 2013 08:32:00 AM

Aam Aadmi Party’s dream run has forced the established political parties to do a rethink and get back to the basics.

With just about four months to go for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is in a rush to touch base with as many voters as possible. Party strategists are using every trick in the book to make that personal contact. To start with, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will engage with volunteers—a relatively new entity in the Indian political scenario—to spread the party message.

Modi will meet volunteers enrolled by party under the banner ‘India272’, the magical figure BJP wants to achieve on its own to form government, on January 9 in Delhi to answer their queries and “inspire” them to work for the party till the votes are counted. BJP is actively seeking volunteers who may not become party members but can contribute time over the next 2-3 months to build a buzz around Modi.

Like volunteers were the mainstay of AAP electoral debut, people enrolling as volunteers on BJP’s platform too are being asked to contribute by writing blogs, tweeting, online tasking and ground-level activities. Sources say in the last two weeks, over a lakh volunteers have enrolled in the campaign. To reward them, the party has created a points system where volunteers actively contributing 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.

Since the spectacular success of AAP, parties like Congress and the BJP have realised that glitzy elections campaigns may create a buzz, but reaching out to voters is far more important.  BJP also set up a special website for getting ideas for its manifesto—to be drafted by a senior leader MM Joshi-led committee. It has received over 50,000 suggestions in the last two months. The BJP has tweaked its campaign. “We have been doing this since Jan Sangh days,” party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said early this week.

However, over a period of time, election funding has changed from funds collection drives to corporates funding the elections. If AAP collected `20 crore within months of seeking donations, the BJP too has a plan prepared.

The saffron party intends to reach out to 10 crore voters in the next two months from whom it will seek funds from a paltry `10 to `1,000 per head. “This will help create a bond with those voters. Once a person donates willingly, he stays in touch with the party working. This helps in bringing him to the polling booth on election day,” a BJP leader explained.

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