The BJP will switch to broadcast lists on WhatsApp for the campaign ahead of the Assembly election later this year following embarrassments over obscene posts on messenger groups of the party units in Surat and Chhota Udepur. Broadcast lists allow a user to repeatedly send messages without having to select recipients each time.
The party’s 48,000 full-time workers will form 48,000 broadcast lists to start with. It will be done as a part of a nine-day booth-level campaign vistarak yojana that would begin on the birth anniversary of Veer Savarkar on May 28. The campaign will conclude on the death anniversary of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s second chief M S Golwalkar on June 5. Each of the 48,000 broadcast lists will have nearly 50-100 BJP workers from each booth.
BJP’s Gujarat spokesman Bharat Pandya brushed aside any management issues of such a large number of groups and consequently 48,00,000 members. “All these 48,000 broadcast lists would be managed strictly by BJP workers only and also it would be ensured that no one except BJP workers are added to these lists.” Pandya said they have constituted an inquiry panel and registered a police complaint in connection with the cases of obscene posts.
Obscene pictures were posted on a WhatsApp group of BJP first from former mayor Raju Desai’s mobile number in February and then from his brother Devendra Desai’s in March. A BJP youth wing member of Adajan had uploaded porn videos and photos on BJP ward number 10 group in the same month. Over 50 objectionable clips were posted from BJP’s IT cell in charge Sanjesh Patel’s mobile number in May. Another such incident involved Pardi BJP’s WhatsApp group in Valsad.
Pandya told The Indian Express that there was no record of the number of WhatsApp group operating in the party’s name. “Also, there is no check on the members. So this will help streamline and monitor (the content).”
The BJP is aiming to popularise the party’s as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s schemes and projects through the vistarak yojana. “A booklet on three years of PM Modi’s work…. one on Veer Savarkar and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay would be distributed to each house visited by the vistaraks (full-time workers),” said the BJP spokesman.
The vistaraks will be provided a kit during this campaign that will include these booklets along with pamphlets on youth, women, farmers, gauraksha, education, drug deaddiction etc. They have been asked to fill a report card and make entries in registers on a daily basis on the visits made during the campaign. The vistaraks and booth members will start the campaign after attending Modi’s ‘Mann ki baat’ on May 28.
As many as 123 vistarak training camps were organised across 33 districts from May 18 to 25 for the campaign.