BJP president Amit Shah has set targets and directed the state apparatuses to meet them by March 31, 2015, when the membership drive ends.
Sources said the Bengal apparatchiks were told to enrol “at least” one crore members. But the feedback in Delhi was Bengal “lagged considerably behind” “fast-growing” states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
“Frankly, Uttar Pradesh and the north Indian states have traditionally been our high growth areas, so we are not surprised that when the overall ambience has become favourable, more people have lined up to become members. We are worried about the other states. The regional leaders have been asked to step up to the plate,” a source said.
Shah has deputed one local party official in every Assembly constituency of the laggard states to work full time in netting members. In saturated areas, a full-timer will not be expected to do this sort of micro-management. He will look at a parliamentary constituency, much larger than an Assembly seat, when recruiting members.
The full-timers are armed with the results, both Lok Sabha and Assembly, of earlier elections. The votes the BJP had polled are arranged Assembly segment-wise and then divided booth-wise so that the volunteer has a fair idea of how the party’s support base panned out on a micro level and where he ought to concentrate.
Shah has not left the exercise to just designated full-timers. Every state apparatchik, from the president down to those operating in districts and blocks, has been asked to devote a week each month for the membership drive. The elected representatives have been told to spend a week each.
In the light of allegations that legislators and persons aspiring to prime organisational posts furnish “fake” membership lists, Shah has fire-walled the process by seeking voter IDs of each potential member so that the data can be cross-verified to nullify ghost recruitments.
Shah, despite being in the thick of the Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir campaigns, is briefed daily by Dinesh Sharma and Vinay Sahastrabuddhe, the BJP vice-presidents in charge of the membership campaign.
Sources claimed the membership “blitz” — projected to take the national figure from the existing 3.25 crores to 10 crores — was also being used as a vehicle to “propagate” the six-month “achievements” of the Narendra Modi government.
In Bengal, the outreach will disseminate three other points: one, Mamata Banerjee’s effort to stymie Shah’s public rallies shows she is “rapidly losing ground”; two, she has “protected” those who “looted” the poor in the Saradha scam and “trivialised” the case; three, she has “communalised” Bengal.