Less than a month after the BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections, party president Amit Shah on Thursday stated that the party is “yet to reach its peak”. He urged BJP leaders to reach out to all sections of the society to expand the organisation in regions where it is yet to emerge as a major force and bring in more people into its fold.
At a meeting with BJP office-bearers, Shah appointed a five-member panel to monitor a fresh membership drive that will be conducted between July 6 and January 31. According to sources, Shah has asked his party leaders to prepare the “roadmap for the membership drive after identifying the sectors where the BJP is weak, both socially and regionally”.
Shah’s message for his party leaders to begin work on strengthening and widening the organisation comes at a time when the main opposition Congress is still in dilemma over who would lead the party in the wake of its president Rahul Gandhi refusing to continue at the helm.
The BJP has already started discussions on its strategy for the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana due later this year.
According to Shah, who addressed the national office-bearers and key organisational representatives from states, the BJP will reach its zenith when it will be running governments in states like Kerala and West Bengal, among others.
Briefing the media after the meeting, BJP general secretaries Bhupender Yadav and Arun Singh said Shah has given final touches to the party’s membership drive, which will be launched soon with an aim to increase its members by 20 per cent. Yadav said the schedule of the drive, the in-charge of which will be former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and BJP vice-president Shivraj Singh Chouhan, will be announced in a few days and the party’s organisational polls will follow the exercise. Dushyant Gautam, Suresh Pujari, Arun Chaturvedi and Shobha Surendran will be co-incharges of the drive.
“Membership drive up to January 31 means it can be done till that date. However, whenever a unit completes enrolment of 20 per cent new members, it is eligible for an active membership campaign. Once it is completed, it becomes eligible for organisation election, which will begin at the booth-level. Once 50 per cent of booths complete the process, it can start at the Mandal level. Once 50 per cent mandals complete it, then it can start at the district level. And once 50 per cent of districts complete, then at the state level. When 50 per cent of the states complete the process, national level organisation election can be held,” said a source in the party.
The BJP, which launched a massive membership campaign on November 1, 2014, enrolled 11 crore new members and after verification, its membership was 10.5 crore. The party also followed a three-tier training programme to make around 15 lakh members active members.
Party sources reiterated that there have been indications that Shah, who has taken over as the Home Minister, may continue as party president till the internal elections in the BJP get over.
Addressing party leaders, Shah told them that in the 2019 elections, the BJP has made deep inroads into many states that were not its familiar grounds. Shah attributed the massive victory of the party to its leaders and booth-level workers. Pointing out that the party made impressive gains in West Bengal and Odisha, Shah said its vote share has gone up in almost all the states. However, in the states like Kerala, where it has failed to open an account in the Lok Sabha elections, he wanted its leaders to reach out to all sections of the society to expand at the ground.
Quoting Shah, Yadav said the party president recounted its growth since the days of Jana Sangh, the forerunner to the BJP. Shah noted that he had made a similar observation during his presidential address at the party’s national council in August 2014 and has been proved correct with the party improving its tally of 282 seats by winning 303 seats in the recent polls.