With RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat warning the BJP to shed complacency and not dismiss the Aam Aadmi Party, the saffron party has decided to take corrective steps. The BJP leadership conceded that the party’s “corruption against India” initiative had been completely hijacked by the AAP and it needed to find out where did its strategy go wrong or what were the shortcomings in raising the issues in public.
Maharashtra BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said: “I have exhorted the cadre to become proactive and revert to our old, tried-and-tested methods of establishing public connect.”
He added: “While there is no reason for us to panic, I understand we will have to become more proactive to reach out to people with our political agenda and work.”
Fadnavis has urged party workers to adopt the traditional methods of agitation for a direct connect with the masses.
At the end of the two-day Chintan Baithak at Alibaug, BJP leadership extensively debated the possible impact of AAP in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Maharashtra. The baithak also coincided with the RSS core committee meeting held in Hyderabad. At the closed-door RSS meeting, the reference to AAP was made in passing, said sources. A senior leader in the BJP told The Indian Express: “During his concluding speech, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said the political developments related to AAP cannot be overlooked by BJP. The party cannot afford to be complacent.”
The RSS leadership’s caution comes as a clear guideline to the BJP as its leaders in Delhi and the state appeared to be speaking in different voices on AAP. At its core committee meeting, the BJP leadership felt there could not be any substitute to personal connect with the people. The BJP, which came into existence in 1980, was known for its street agitations on public issues. But over the years, it adopted new methods of campaign using technology.
Fadnavis said: “The absence of personal connect often results in disconnect with the masses, which needs to be avoided. And it need not be confined to elections, but also otherwise, like it had been in the past.”
Earlier, speaking at an internal meeting, some of the senior leaders and former ministers said they should be more vocal on issues of corruption. One of the leaders said: “Why is it that only Fadnavis and Kirit Somaiya are vocal against corruption? Why are others not forthcoming in campaigning against corruption?”
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.