The BJP is set to station at least one fulltime cadre at each of the 4,120 Assembly segments across the country until the counting of votes for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are over. All these fulltimers will be working away from their usual places of residence, so they can focus solely on the party’s electoral efforts without being distracted by any vested interest.
Over 3,200 fulltimers have, in fact, already fanned out to places assigned to them. More than 2,250 of them have committed to devoting a year or more to the job at hand; the rest have offered to give six months, sources said.
“We are motivating them to extend the duration of their fulltime dedicated party work until the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. They are more than ready to work until the 2019 elections,” said a source who has been briefed on the exercise. “We will soon have enough numbers to meet our target to have at least one fulltimer for each of the 4,120 Assembly segments across the country,” the source said.
The process to identify another 1,500 fulltime volunteers who would dedicate themselves to party work away from their homes until the Lok Sabha elections is currently on, sources said. Besides the fulltimers for each Assembly segment, the plan envisages additional fulltimers for coordination among clusters of assembly segments.
The first effort is to get those who have volunteered for six months to dedicate themselves for a longer duration. Should it fall short of the desired number of volunteers, the party has decided to train some of those who had initially offered for work for 15 days away from their places of residence.
According to the sources, over 100 of the 3,200 fulltimers already on the ground are Muslims and Christians, and come mainly from Jammu & Kashmir and the Northeast.
The fulltimers who have committed to working until the 2019 elections are drawn from those who had volunteered to dedicate 6-12 months to party work as part of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Vistarak project announced at the party’s national executive meeting in September last year.
“The original project was to use them as part of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay birth centenary programme. But now, the party leadership has decided to extend this beyond the centenary year that concluded with the national executive last month,” said a source. Details of the plan were shared with members of the national executive.
BJP president Amit Shah has constituted a national team headed by national joint general secretary (organisation) Shivprakash, an RSS pracharak, to oversee the effort until the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Shivprakash will be assisted by senior party leaders like Anil Jain, Murlidhar Rao and Vinay Sahashrabuddhe.
The party has so far organised 44 training camps for the fulltimers who will be on the ground until the Lok Sabha elections. BJP leaders said Shah has had personal closed-door meetings with groups of fulltimers in each state during his nationwide tour that began in April.
These fulltimers are separate from the over three lakh volunteers who have devoted 15 days to booth-level work over the last one year. The party’s internal reports suggest these short-term volunteers succeeded in reaching out to almost six lakh booths out of the 10 lakh booths across the country. One of the key tasks the volunteers had was to make lists of youth who had smartphones and bikes, and to supply them to the relevant party units. This database is expected to be of great help for canvassing, party insiders said.