NEW DELHI: Facing a stiff challenge from the Congress in Gujarat, the BJP is going for unprecedented micro-management in the Assembly polls to retain its bastion. The party has assigned one worker to chase every 30 voters across the state. This is a further improvement on the strategy employed in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections earlier this year, where the BJP had reaped a rich harvest with its formula of 10 party workers manning a political booth consisting of about 1,000 votes.
“The BJP has gone a mile ahead of the successful model in Uttar Pradesh for retaining power in Gujarat. It’s no more 10 workers for one polling booth, but one party functionary for one page (of the voter list) containing 30 names. The BJP’s organisational penetration in Gujarat could well be several notches higher than what the CPI(M) enjoyed in its hey days in West Bengal,” a senior party leader said.
Political analysts believe BJP president Amit Shah’s famed organisational skills will be put to test this time in his home state in the face of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s intense campaign to cash in on the rising resentment among the voters against the government’s economic measures.
Aware of the challenge, BJP sources said Shah was keeping a close tab on each and every perception swing in the lanes and bylanes of the state. Sources said he has been taking party workers through rigorous training in poll management in the recent months. “Even when polls are only a few weeks away, Shah continues to engage with party workers to ward off the attempts of political rivals to wean away voters from the saffron camp,” the BJP leader said.
Party sources said the high-stake Gujarat battle has made Shah take a break from his efforts for a pan-India organisational expansion of the party and camp in the state. “Despite all odds, including anguish amongst traders over GST rollout and demonetisation, Shah’s organisational machinery is preparing at a scale that it would be a herculean task for the Congress,” a BJP functionary claimed.
The BJP had won 116 of the 182 in the 2012 Gujarat Assembly polls when Narendra Modi was the chief minister. This time, despite lacking a strong state leader to fill in the gap created after Modi’s elevation as Prime Minister, Shah has set an ambitious target to win 150 seats. “Though it seems quite ambitious, the party functionaries are working hard on the ground to achieve the target so as to send out a loud message for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,” said a BJP national general secretary.
- Amit Shah’s electoral skills will be tested in his home state against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi
- Shah has taken a break from his pan-India expansion to focus on Gujarat