When BJP president Amit Shah rushed to Patna on Tuesday morning, he was accompanied by at least eight senior Ministers in the NDA government and a couple of his trusted aides to douse infighting in the State unit. Within two days, Mr. Shah has deployed all that manpower to micro-manage the most important political test facing the BJP since winning the general election in 2014 — the Bihar Assembly polls.
According to top sources in the party, Mr. Shah has divided the State into 12 ‘zones’ or ‘divisions’, each having at least three districts covered under it (Bihar has 37 districts in all). A “rajnitik prahari” or political supervisor has been appointed to each of these divisions, mostly Union Ministers like Ravi Shankar Prasad, Giriraj Singh, Radha Mohan Singh, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and J.P. Nadda or a party heavyweight like BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.
These political supervisors will have one purely organisational man under them (usually on loan from the RSS) to take care of nuts and bolts issues. “All these people, in the areas assigned to them, will get in contact with party workers, local leadership, and be available for any airing of grievances,” said a source.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit almost every district, certainly each of the demarcated zones during his campaign.
BJP to rally around PM, target first-time voters
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah, who has deployed Union Ministers and trusted aides for the Bihar poll campaign, has asked party leaders to use Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visits to the State for electioneering as a unifying factor in the dissension-ridden State unit.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to address a rally in Banka on Friday and three rallies on October 8 in Begusarai, Samastipur and Munger.
“Of the 80 lakh BJP members in the State, we have been able to get contact details of at least 65 lakh members. Our aim is to target the 18-40 age-group in the State, which is around 60 per cent of the voters in Bihar, as our surveys have shown that first-time and under-40 voters show a preference for Prime Minister Modi,” said a source.
The party is combining old-style poster campaigns with new-age twists. It has painted slogans on 29,000 buses across the State and 1,083 rickshaws as well (as a lesson from the Delhi polls).
“We have even reached out to tea shop owners to carry out our campaign posters, which say chai ki dukaan se, desh ki kamaan tak (from the tea shop to holding the reins of the country),” said another source.