The BJP president Amit Shah on Friday warned complacency in membership drive would not be tolerated where ministers will also have to play a pro-active role in expansion of the organisation.
He took the decision to decentralise functioning within the state unit by according discretionary powers to district BJP presidents to induct outsiders in the party as part of the expansion plan. The empowerment of district presidents is part of the policy change to ensure greater responsibility and participation at the grass roots.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “ The seriousness of the membership drive can be ascertained from the factor that Amit Shah calls him every day to update the tally.” He said, “I am aware BJP president has his own network to find out the progress. Yet, once daily I receive a call from Shah. He asks me to give updates on how the campaign is progressing in which district.”
According to a senior BJP leader present at the meeting , “The expansion plan would entail individuals to induct new members from diverse fields and parties. But caution should be exercised to ensure the individuals don’t have a criminal background. And that they don’t have charges of corruption against them in their respective fields.”
The decision to empower district presidents comes with an assurance that they will not have to consult their district leaders or ministers while giving consent to outsiders for joining the party. He asserted that BJP’s objective is to strengthen the organisation base through 90,000 booths across 288 assembly constituencies in Maharashtra.
Shah convened a meeting of the state BJP in Mumbai where he stated that complacency in membership drive in state unit would not be tolerated. What more noticing was that Shah has also laid down task for BJP ministers. He shortlisted a panel of organisational secretaries who would ev olve a time table for ministers and officials to ensure 90,000 booths across Maharashtra are covered.
In a clear departure from the past, Shah indicated that it would be mandatory for every individual to enroll atleast 100 new members.
Those who fail to enroll 100 members would not be considered for any organisational elections ahead. He warned, “the central BJP would be meticulously monitoring every individual’s effort and nobody should take it lying down.”
Citing his own example Shah said, “Both prime minister Narendra Modi and myself have enrolled 100 new members. And that there cannot be any excuse for not achieving the task.”
The BJP ministers have been asked to set aside two days for the field work that included visit to booths undertaking the membership drive.
During the four hour long meeting Shah gave audience to the members who expressed concerns and problems while undertaking the membership drive. Some BJP leaders raised questions about lack of mobile phones in remote and tribal areas that came in the way of digital membership drive. Some expressed problems as every member who would have to furnish the personal details would have to shell out Rs 10.
According to the BJP president, “the present campaign was confined to digital membership drive. As a result the membership in areas of tribals and remote villages minus mobile would be worked out in next phase post March end.”
He urged the party workers to register the toll free call made by individuals on their phone and then take the initiative to reach out to persons to elicit their details. This way they could avoid poor people from spending Rs 10 for a mobile call while enrolling as party member.