Low-key start to campaign in three districts

In a bid to effectively reach out to people ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party has quietly launched an “outreach” programme comprising door-to-door visits.

Though this mode of campaigning is nothing new for the cadre-based political organisation, what is unique about this programme is that it is being taken up through non-political members.

The party has chosen a brigade of young professionals, including doctors, software engineers and advocates, for the campaign. The party feels that the campaign by non-political activists could be more effective than that by politicians.

According to sources, about 1,000 such professionals in the 25-35 age group have registered as volunteers with the party. About 200 have been deployed by the party after an orientation programme. While most such volunteers take part in the campaign on Sundays, some take leave from work to be part of it.

“The programme has been launched in a low-key manner in the districts of Kolar, Ramanagaram and Bangalore Rural. We have been able to cover about 30,000 households in the last three weeks,” the sources said.

To begin with, the campaign is focussing only on rural areas.

“Our experience has showed that despite the reach of mass media and communication technology revolution, a large number of rural households are still not part of the communication loop. Besides, we have not strongly percolated into rural areas. Hence, we decided to get into the villages first,” the sources said.

Focus on Modi

The method of campaigning is curious as the volunteers carry three sets of pamphlets. It appears that the party is trying to build a tempo in favour of its national campaign committee chairman and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as one set of pamphlets pertains to his achievements as Chief Minister, and also his leadership qualities.

The second set speaks on the alleged failures of the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre besides the scams involving it. The third set of pamphlets seeks to project the BJP as an “alternative” to the Congress-led political dispensation at the Centre.

“The feedback has been good,” the sources said. According to them, the volunteers have been able to relate the problems affecting the middleclass and the lower middleclass households, including hike in fuel and food prices, to the governance of the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre.

Several district units of the party too have shown interest in taking up the campaign and the party has decided to cover the entire State.

“The volunteers are not paid any honorarium. All that we give them is three sets of pamphlets. Some volunteers are even considering carrying compact discs containing campaign material to be played on screens fitted in their vehicles,” the sources said.

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