Odisha’s ruling BJD’s membership drive in the state ran into controversy on its first day on Monday as the party said it will ask new members to submit their Aadhaar details in an apparent bid to weed out “fictitious people”. Opposition BJP, which is making its own serious push to expand membership in the state, with leaders claiming that they are on course to achieve a target of 50 lakh members in Odisha, criticised the BJD’s move to seek Aadhaar details, while the ruling party said it is meant for “verification purpose”.
State BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty said, “This (asking for Aadhaar details) may be a conspiracy by BJD to make a database of its members, and they (members) will be made beneficiaries (of various state welfare schemes). The BJP will oppose this.”
Pinaki Misra, BJD’s Lok Sabha MP from Puri, explained: “The party is asking for Aadhaar details for purely verification purposes. Sometimes, many fictitious people enter the membership list during these mobilisation drives. We want to ensure that we are adding only genuine members.”
Accusing the opposition parties of giving out inflated number of their members, Misra said: “The BJP and Congress do not even get the number of votes that they claim are active members of their parties. In many constituencies (of Odisha), their active membership is 10 times (over) the votes they actually get. They are thriving on fake membership.”
On Monday, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik re-enrolled as BJD member from Bhubaneswar-Ekamra Assembly constituency. He was given the membership number 00000001.
Patnaik said, “The BJD is a party of the people of Odisha. It has been blessed in every town, village and household (in the state). We will meet mothers, farmers, youth and strengthen the party.”
A party member said, “Today, the CM and a few top leaders renewed their membership. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), public outreach programme will begin from places such as Dhenakanal and Baleswar.”