Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BJP plans Narendra Modi's trip in Bihar for a final push to ensure favorable result

NEW DELHI: BJP plans to unleash its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Bihar for a final push to ensure a never-before performance in the state that sends 40 members to the Lok Sabha.

Starting on Wednesday when he will address rallies in Chapra and Seohar, Modi will be present in Bihar each day till May 9, either physically or virtually. He will personally campaign in the state for at least two more days besides addressing voters in Bihar through 150 3-D sabhas during the 10-day period. The last two phases of elections in the state is on May 7 and May 12.

Asenior BJP leader said the final run-up was necessary to avoid complacency among the party workers. "It is time to pull out all the stops in the last two phases that account for 14 Lok Sabha seats. The report from the ground was that the cadres on the ground - both BJP and RSS - were getting somewhat disheartened with Lalu Yadav's bluster," the leader said.

The focus, much like in UP, is on micromanagement right down to booth level. Joint teams of Sangh and BJP prabharis have been on the ground, travelling to each and every booth, holding meetings with workers, motivating them to reach out to each voter once again .

The party leader quoted above told ET that report from the April 24 round of polls was not very encouraging. Seven seats of Seemanchal had gone to polls on the day and BJP was on a weak wicket in at least five of the seats including Kishanganj, Sapaul and Bhagalpur, which have sizable Muslim population.

"The elections in the first two phases on April 10 and 17 were spot on, much as we had expected. Of the 20 seats that have already gone to polls, we are confident of getting around 12-13," the person said.

Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP's state incharge and key strategist, is confident of the party getting 25 seats along with its ally Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan in Bihar. "We have to further build on the Modi wave in the last few days of the campaign. Modi lehar ko badhana hai," he told ET over the phone from Bihar, where he has been camping for almost four months now.

Pradhan has been supervising BJP's poll campaign in the politically complex state where caste and backwardness defined affiliations as much as religion. The planning involved detailed caste engineering with BJP reaching out to the vast community of backward voters in a bid to create a grand social alliance. In the process, however, the upper caste and Brahmins felt neglected.

A party leader said, "It is true that there are 24% forward caste voters in the state, but then the BJP could not ignore the others. We have given tickets to three Brahmin candidates."

Rituraj Sinha, a business major from Leeds University who manages BJP control room in Patna, gave details of what went into managing elections in a state where the party had no base in almost 25 seats. BJP, which was in alliance with the ruling JD (U), had not contested in those constituencies.

Rituraj said the two-pronged plan involved reaching out to each voter at least three times in a door-to-door campaign. The legwork was bolstered by technology as 215 raths (basically GPS-fitted vans) travelled across the state, taking Modi's pre-recorded audio-video message to the voters' doorstep.

"BJP's vote share in the state was 14.5% in 2009. Our aim is to take it to 30%," he said.

Source: ET

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