With the Maharashtra BJP failing to make much progress in the membership registration drive, which is a national project, party president Amit Shah is likely to address the issue on Friday. He was scheduled to arrive in Mumbai late Thursday night.
Shah is also likely to discuss the problems within the government with ministers engaging in the game of oneupmanship, often trageting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, exposing the differences within the organisation on policy matters.
The latest development of Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari holding a media interaction Thursday using the state BJP platform — to outline centre-state projects — where senior state ministers Eknath Khadse and Sudhir Mungantiwar were present but Fadnavis wasn’t has set tongues wagging within the party.
At the BJP headquarters, some leaders said Gadkari might be trying to “give out a signal that he still wields control on Maharashtra”.
However, a leader close to Gadkari dismissed the absence of CM at the press conference as “mere coincidence”. “The chief minister was addressing his scheduled programmes in Nagpur. So, it was not possible for him to attend the event,” he said.
Gadkari has convened a meeting on Friday which will be attended by Fadnavis, all cabinet ministers, state MPs, MLAs, MLCs and district officials.
Highly placed sources in the state BJP said the unit had managed to enroll only 20 lakh members till now since the membership registration drive was launched. “Our target was 1 crore. There has been complacency in this exercise as a majority of those in the lead were busy addressing the state session or attending Parliament,” said a leader.
However, the central leadership of the party is not satisfied with the excuse as the winter session was only for a fortnight and the Parliament session ended in less than a month.
The membership drive will conclude in March.
The party has set a national target of registering a minimum of 10 crore members.
A senior BJP functionary in Maharashtra said: “There are some issues that need to be sorted out at tomorrow’s meeting. The membership drive model has been changed this year, which makes the exercise more authentic but cumbersome. Earlier, individuals were given the target to enroll the BJP members on paper. There was no mechanism to verify credentials of the indviduals.”
To ensure there is no manipulation, this year the party has introduced a method where individuals seeking to enlist as BJP member needs to make a call. “Once the number is registered at party level, they are sent a message to furnish more details including address etc. Unless the individuals furnishes the details, the membership is not considered complete,” said the leader.
According to spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, “Often individuals respond to the first call. But when it comes to responding to our message, there is slackness.”
A senior cabinet minister said: “Today, in the absence of any election, people don’t voluntarily participate in such membership drive. It becomes imperative for the party to launch a door-to-door awareness campaign, which is not happening at the moment.”
Sources in the BJP said Friday’s meeting would also look into strengthening coordination between the party and the government, besides ensuring that ministers “speak in one voice and don’t engage in game of oneupmanship”.