The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has emerged as biggest political party in the world with more than 12 crore members, is now aiming to be the single largest party in Punjab in next three years.
The saffron party is said to 23 lakh members currently in Punjab with its ally the Shiromani Akali Dal eyeing 50 lakh members, including the existing ones. The allies have separately launched their membership campaigns.
While launched its campaign from Badal, the native village of party patron Parkash Singh Badal, on July 12, BJP is adding members as part of its nationwide campaign launched July 6.
“We enrolled 1.25 lakh new members in just four days of our drive. The response is overwhelming. By 2022, our party will be the single largest party in Punjab,” said Shwait Malik, state BJP president.
Malik was speaking at one such membership campaign in Haibowal area of Ludhiana.
Punjab BJP spokesperson Anil Sareen said they were assigned the target to add 2 lakh new members in Punjab. “But we will reach 30 lakh or even more soon as people here are too keen to join the BJP. After this membership drive, some changes in organisational structure of the party may be carried out”.
Political experts feel the BJP, which is on an aggressive curve adding members and welcoming defectors, including legislators from other parties across country, may end up hurting its ally SAD in Punjab. The Akali Dal, at present, is not in the pink of its health, having been routed in the 2017 Assembly election when it won only 15 seats in the 117 member House and also ended up losing the post of Leader of Opposition to the Aam Aadmi Party that had won 20 seats. The SAD continued with its poor performance in this year’s Lok Sabha elections where it contested 10 seats but could win only two. BJP, on the other hand, won two of the three seats it contested.
Though traditional allies, BJP, experts said, wouldn’t mind a bigger share in seats, both in the Assembly and in the Lok Sabha elections in the future.
The BJP’s membership drive is free of cost. SAD, however, is charging a fee of Rs 10 as membership charge. Launching the campaign, Parkash Singh Badal and his son and party president Sukhbir Singh Badal filled their membership forms. On the occasion, 50 new members were enrolled.
Charanjeet Singh Brar, political advisor to SAD president, said, “Our membership drive is undertaken every five years in which even existing members have to renew their membership. Rs 10 is the nominal fee for it. We have a target of 50 lakh members, including the existing ones. This is a process ahead of changes in organisational structure of the party”.
Meanwhile, asked about his comment on BJP soon emerging as the single largest party in Punjab, Malik said, “Every party has its own ways and strategies to expand the organisational structure. However, this (our drive) will not affect our alliance with SAD and that will continue the way it is.”
BJP has no objection over invitation to Pak PM
Malik replying to the query of SGPC’s invitation to Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan to attend the grand Nagar Kirtan to commence 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak, said,”We have no objection to it as it is a religious matter.”
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